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Governments slammed over disability issues

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DisableParticipants at sensitization workshop on the United Nations Convention on the Right of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) on Wednesday slammed governments for paying lip service to the concerns of persons with disabilities.

The consensus was that official declarations of intent even where it manifested into laws were only cosmetic with hardly any serious moves to carry through those intents.

Mr Brandford K. Tay, Vice-Chairman of the New Horizon Foundation of the Blind, said six years after the promulgation of the Disability Act, the pace to actualize and the make the Law functional was not enough.

He said the 10 years gestation period for the Law to become fully operational was a disincentive for compliance.

Mr Tay cited the new shopping centre at the Civic Centre in the Ho township and others like it, which had no passageways for disables, as contravening the law which says no public building should be without those passageways.

He said the interest of the disabled did not reflect in virtually all modes of public transportation.

Mr Tay said the recent concession that the disables got enrolled on the National Health Insurance Scheme free of charge was going on with a lot of problems, with many of the disabled hardly affected.

Mr Daniel Mensah Senior Principal Investigative Officer at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) said people with disabilities had rights just as others, which society must respect.

Mr Alex Korsi Akpo President of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled expressed frustrations at the continuing disdain with which society treated people with disabilities.

He said the countless forums on disability issues might as well not be held because they amounted to nothing, criticizing the media for not giving the needed attention to their issues.

Mr Akpo observed that even though organizations attributed their inability to meet the needs of people with disabilities to lack of funds for the staff training, the same organizations when asked to provide staff for free training failed to do so.

During an open forum, Mr Hope Ocloo, a former teacher expressed concern about the flippant way the police treated people with disabilities when they visit the charge offices to lodge complaints.

Godwin Kumah, Special Education Officer at the Keta Municipal Directorate of the Ghana Education Service (GES) said disability issues were crucial for society considering the fact that many more people were disabled one way or the other than could be imagined.

He said every public officer was under obligation to promote the rights of the disables.

Maxwell Dzadey, President of the Volta Regional Association of the Deaf called on educational authorities to give English teachers at the senior high school level the needed skills to handle the deaf.

Mr Dzadey who works at the Ho Stadium View Super Market, Frozen Foods section said ignorance of the sign language by staff of health facilities was a huge wedge between people with hearing impairment and proper healthcare.

Other issues discussed include the emerging policy of Inclusive Education in schools in Ghana, where people with disabilities would school in the same environment with others.

Togbe Kweku Ayim VI, Paramount Chief of the Ziavi Traditional Area said Inclusive Education was a crucial policy though expensive but must work and that governments must show commitment by providing the resources for its implementation.

Selorm Kumah Tsivanyo, a student of the Abutia Senior High Technical School, with cerebral palsy, appealed for help to improve mobility in a physically rugged school environment and his incapacity to write.

Steven Aflo, a blind junior high school pupil also appealed for help to gain literacy in ICT.

Source: GNA

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