UNICEF Ghana has donated personal protective equipment (PPEs) to the Judicial Service and the Births and Deaths Registry, as part of efforts to support the Government in combating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PPEs, which include gloves, hand sanitizers, facemasks, and thermometers, were presented by Madam Anne-Claire Dufay, UNICEF Ghana Country Representative to Mr Justice Anin Yeboah, the Chief Justice, and Mr Frank Raji, Director, General Administration, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, at two separate ceremonies in Accra.
The allocation of the PPEs to the Births and Deaths Registry includes 16,250 facemasks, 32,500 gloves, 325 bottles of hand sanitizers and five gun thermometers for the headquarters.
Whereas that of the Judicial Service were 37,500 facemasks, 75,000 gloves, 750 bottles of hand sanitizers, and 25 gun thermometers.
Madam Dufay said the PPEs would go a long way to help the staff of the Births and Deaths Registry to facilitate the continued provision of services, especially to register children at birth; while that of the Judicial Service would facilitate the continued provision of justice services, especially to women and children.
She lauded the relentless efforts of the Government to curtail and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the country.
“COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone. But one reality has not changed: Every day, children are born, and every day, sadly, people die. Therefore, the services of Births and Deaths Registry remain essential, even during this COVID-19 crisis,” Madam Dufay stated.
“During this period, we would also like to encourage the Government to allow for late and delayed registration by waiving off fees for late registration of births. This is in recognition of the difficulties individuals may experience in accessing registration facilities, particularly if no alternative methods are available to facilitate telephone, email, or online registration.”
About justice delivery, Madam Dufay, who noted that there were increased risks of contracting the COVID-19 virus due to overcrowding, also urged the Judicial Service to consider non-custodial measures for juveniles who were in contact with the law.
She said UNICEF would continue to work with the Judicial Service to protect women and girls from gender based violence and increase their access to justice.
On his part, Mr Justice Anin Yeboah lauded UNICEF for being the first non-governmental organisation to donate PPEs to the Judicial Service; stating that the items would be put to good use.
He noted that as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, the Service was taking initiatives to decongest the courts,
Concerning juveniles coming into contact with the law, the Chief Justice said if it comes to remanding juveniles, it would only be done in extreme cases.
He appealed to UNICEF to assist the Service in improving the juvenile courts in places like the Obuasi Municipality and Aboabo in Kumasi.
Mr Raji, who expressed gratitude to UNICEF for the donation, also appealed to the UN Agency to extend a similar gesture to the Department of Community Development and the Department of Parks and Gardens.
Reverend Kingsley Asare Addo, the Registrar of Births and Deaths, also expressed gratitude to UNICEF for its support to the Registry over the years.
He said UNICEF’s support and funding of the Registry’s digitization programme, had impacted positively on their activities; such that they were able to scale-up births registration from 17 per cent in 2002 to 80 percent in 2019.