The Ghana Society of Physically Disabled (GSPD) has rolled out a research activity to measure the degree of constraints people with disability face in the business community within the built environment.
The research findings, expected to be completed at the end of April 2012, would be the basis for a stakeholders’ roundtable for a proposed national law or standards to guide building engineers and their clients for the establishment of a disability-friendly and accessible infrastructure.
Mr Charles Appiagyei, National Administrator of GSPD, said this to the Ghana News Agency in Accra at the end of a recently held advocacy workshop organised by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund and facilitated by the Society for Managing Initiatives and Leadership Enhancement, Ghana.
He expressed worry that currently Persons with Disability (PWD) spent inordinate amount of time trying to gain access and transact business within the business communities.
Mr Appiagyei expressed worry that most Automated Teller Machines of banks were placed at a height that made it possible for only physically-abled persons who even would have to be in a standing posture to use them.
He said the findings had revealed that most internet cafes were located at higher floors within the buildings of most business communities, where it was difficult for PWDs to have access.
Mr Appiagyei pointed out that toilet facilities at some hotels were inaccessible for those with disabilities stressing the situation was an affront not only to their rights to the access but also to their dignity.
“In some of these washrooms, it is even difficult, if not impossible for a wheelchair to be pushed to enter the facility,” he said.
He said a cursory observation at most market centres and other business sectors across the country reveal the absence of pavements for persons with disability.
Mr Appiagyei expressed disquiet that some open drains were not covered to enable them “cross over” to have access the buildings.
He said by these access and movement constraints the operators at the business community in the country were losing a lot of businesses from PWDs.
Mr Appiagyei said the Society hoped to engage the Ghana Standards Authority, Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing and Ministry of Roads and Highway on the proposed building guidelines.
Though the Persons With Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715), which was given a Presidential Assent in August 2006, had been passed, the Society felt persons with disability were denied free access to the built environment, especially in the business communities.