Multidimensional poverty: Sore point to deal with

On Wednesday, June 19, 2024, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) presented harrowing statistics that captured the index of the population which face deprivations in many ways.

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According to the GSS, the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is the measure of the various overlapping deprivations faced at the same time by an individual. It put the number of people in that bracket as 7.3 million who experience deprivations in health care, education, employment and living conditions.

This means that about 24.3 per cent or almost a quarter of the population are multidimensionally poor. The details of the statistics are scarier. Unemployment contributes the most to the MPI at 32.6 per cent, followed by poor living conditions at 27.9 per cent; poor access to health care, 21.1 per cent, and the lack of education at 17.8 per cent, while half of all those experiencing multidimensional poverty, who constitute 43.8 per cent, are in severe poverty.

It is disheartening that with all the efforts towards development in the country, almost a quarter of Ghanaians are deprived when it comes to accessing standard employment opportunities, living conditions, health and education.

It is evident that the Free Senior High School policy introduced in September 2017, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme started in 2008, the School Feeding Programme in 2005, along with the various interventions by the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, have not been able to level inequalities and provide expanded opportunities to get more people out of poverty.

The Daily Graphic welcomes the rationale for the survey, as explained by the Director of Social Statistics at the GSS, Omar Seidu, that the findings provide evidence for formulating comprehensive policy responses to address the various dimensions of poverty simultaneously.

That should include improving access to quality education, health care and employment opportunities, particularly in rural and underserved regions. The Daily Graphic urges policymakers and the government to take these findings seriously and act upon them.

Addressing multidimensional poverty and bringing all Ghanaians to an appreciable standard of living are the requirements of our leaders. It requires hard work, prioritising rightly and ensuring transparency in the process.

Leadership at every level must not rest because the poverty being experienced is multidimensional, meaning it is varied and intertwined. Past interventions must be reviewed with the purpose of improving on them.

Additionally, those vying for political office must have the statistics in mind as they campaign for votes. They must bear in mind that the power they seek is to be used to make the lives of the people better.

The Daily Graphic also presents the statistics to all non-governmental organisations in the various development efforts. It is important information in the direction of their interventions.

It is also important that the entire society bears the statistics in mind as presidential and parliamentary aspirants come knocking on citizens’ doors to solicit their votes. They should ask the hard questions of whether the tangible ideas they espouse are capable of lifting the majority of Ghanaians out of poverty.

It is time Ghanaians forcefully demanded their well-being and rolled out a marking scheme for political leadership in their effort to get the population out of poverty.

Multidimensional poverty, certainly, is a sore point in our development. Let us deal with it!

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