The Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA), has urged the government and other stakeholders to prominently feature persons with disabilities in decision-making processes, especially those that directly affect persons with disabilities.
Making the call at a civil society organizations’ workshop on youth disability under the theme, ‘Promoting the inclusion and participation of youth with disability,’ the A.g Executive Director of FOSDA, Theodora Williams-Anti, bemoaned the various acts of discrimination meted out to persons with disabilities in key decision-making processes in the country.
“We often do not include persons with disabilities in planning, in decision-making, decisions that are drafted because of them and will affect them, and this trend is very worrying, and it needs to stop,” she said.
“It is a big problem. Think of the many discriminations against persons with disabilities. For instance, in our hospitals and other centres across the country, there is no form of interpretation for persons with disabilities especially those with hearing impairment.”
Current statistics from the World Bank indicate that 1 billion people, representing 15% of the global population, suffer from various forms and degrees of disability with little or no attention paid to issues pertaining to disability.
Some participants at the workshop, some of whom are persons with disabilities, expressed concern at the rate at which they are discriminated against in their everyday lives, from boarding public transport to seeking medical care.
“We go to the hospital and the nurses that are trained to handle us rather make us regret ever visiting the facility. I once visited a clinic when I was pregnant with my first child and the nurse had difficulty locating my vein to draw blood, she turned around and said ‘when you people,’ referring to my disability, are enjoying the sex, don’t forget you have a disability. As if we don’t deserve to be loved too,” one participant said.
A significant percentage, 16%, according to the 2021 Housing and Population Census, of Ghanaians have some form of disability.
To help address disability problems in the country, Ghana passed the Persons with Disability Act (Act 715) in 2006 to provide a legal framework and protection for persons with disability, but speaking to some participants at the workshop, it was evident there is still a lot the country has to do to bridge the gap.
Madam Williams-Anti also charged the government to increase spending and increase the number of special schools providing services for people with special needs.