The National Identification Authority has begun the registration of cured lepers onto the identification register.
The exercise, which was initiated by the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, commenced at the Weija Leprosarium in the Greater Accra Region yesterday where it is expected to cover 20 to 50 people.
The exercise would subsequently be extended to the Ankaful Leprosarium in the Central Region and Kokofu in the Ashanti Region.
Other cured lepers in Ho in the Volta Region, Nkanchina in the Northern Region and Wa in the Upper West Region would also be registered in due course.
The verification will capture the face, iris and ears of the lepers, some of whom have lost their fingers to leprosy.
Dr Bawumia described the Ghana Card as an important document for all citizens to acquire to enable them to transact business and engage in other activities.
“We do not want anybody to be left out so we are talking about inclusion of everybody.
We want to make sure that cured lepers as a group are also included, and this is taking place in Weija,” he said.
Dr Bawumia, who is also the Patron of the Lepers Aid Committee, further said that lepers were some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in society, hence the need for their inclusion.
Touching on the law governing the usage of the Ghana Card, the Vice-President said that the law specified 17 things the card could be used for and that it was the basis for which every citizen must acquire it.
He said available data showed that verifications that had taken place with the card so far were 120 million.
The Executive Secretary of the NIA, Prof. Kenneth Agyeman Attafuah, said the initiative was a social, economic and political inclusion exercise.
He said the NIA had already enrolled 17.4 million people, representing those who were 15 years and above onto the national identity register.
“We have just about 2.5 million citizens, aged 15 and above out of the 31 million who have not been registered.
“With the support of the staff of NIA, we can register the 2.5 million people in a period of two to three months if we have blank cards, that is our most burning desire at the moment,” Prof. Attafuah said.
He further said that his outfit had finalised arrangements with the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service and the Registrar of the Births and Deaths Registry to register children from age zero to six years.
Prof. Attafuah also said that the authority would register Ghanaians in the diaspora, subject to the availability of funds.
The Chairman of the Lepers Aid Committee, Rev. Father Andrew Campbell, expressed appreciation to Dr Bawumia for his immense support to cured lepers across the country.
He, however, appealed for an increase in the feeding grant for cured lepers, saying, they deserve more than the GH¢ 30 a month to live decent lives.