There has been a failure on the part of successive governments to address the issues affecting 'Kayayee' (female head porters) in Ghana with regards to their education, health, and economic wellbeing.
This was revealed in research by Dr Kennedy A. Alatinga, Senior Lecturer and Acting Dean, Faculty of Planning and Land Management, Simon Diedong Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies (SDD-UBIDS), during a knowledge dissemination seminar at the university campus in Wa.
In his introduction in the research work titled: "Adolescent Girls on the Move: Poverty and Access to Health among Migrant Adolescent Girl Head Porters in Ghana", Dr Alatinga said the high incidence of poverty in Northern Ghana pushed adolescent girls aged 10-19 years to urban cities of Accra and Kumasi to work as 'Kayayee'.
Justifying the research focus, the Senior Lecturer noted that poverty and access to healthcare were key in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals One and Three (SDGs 1 & 3), which aimed at ending poverty in all its forms and ensuring healthy lives, and promoting wellbeing for all at all ages.
Dr Alatinga noted that the education, health, and economic wellbeing of these 'Kayayee' were important and should be addressed through targeted policies and programmes to avoid creating an intergenerational cycle of poverty among these unfortunate people.
He recommended to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to identify adolescent girls who were engaged in 'Kayayee' as a means to raising money to pay for their school fees and enrol them into the Free Senior High School (FSHS) policy.
He further recommended that the government enrolled all 'Kayayee' onto the NHIS to increase their access to healthcare whereas the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Ministry of Health established specific healthcare facilities for these 'Kayayee' to address the issue of discrimination.
Dr Alatinga also called on the government to bridge the north-south development gap by establishing relevant industries, factories and irrigation schemes to provide employment opportunities for all.
Prof. Paul Nkegbe, Dean, Faculty of Integrated Development Studies (FIDS), SDD-UBIDS, lauded the idea of the knowledge dissemination seminar and that one of the accusations against the academia was that "they do the research and shelve the results for them to continue to gather dust."
According to him, the knowledge dissemination seminar presented an opportunity for research results to be disseminated and shared in a manner that all who were interested could have access to and use to promote development.