Story: Atta Kwaku BOADI
Four Members of Parliament (MPs) have bemoaned the barriers that are impeding the full inclusion and effective participation of persons with disabilities (PWDs) which are still on the the rise and are limiting PWDSs their full potential and access to society.
The MPs in a joint statement sighted by Today and presented to parliament on Friday,December 3, 2021 to commemorate the International Day of Persons With Disabilities noted the inadequacies “in our efforts as a nation to shaping an inclusive future for all”.
The theme for this year’s commemoration was, “Leadership And Participation of Persons With Disability Towards An Inclusive, Accessible And Sustainable Post Covid-19 World”.
The MPs in the statement noted that, disability was part of human experiences and a proximal antecedent of accidents.
“It is important we understand accident as any natural or unnatural happenings that cause a malfunctioning to our abilities as humans. Consistent with this understanding, the World Health Organisation and the World Bank in a study in 2011 suggest that at one point or another, almost every person is exposed to, and may experience temporal or permanent disability”,the statement said.
Here in Ghana, the statement said, approximately 4 out of every 10 persons have some form of disability condition according to the Ghana Disability Data Disaggregation Pilot Project in 2018.
According to the statement, a study conducted by the Ghana Federation of Disability (GFD) in six regions in Ghana further indicated that 25% of persons with disabilities were born with the condition whilst 75% acquired their disabilities on earth.
It said, the plethora of evidence appeared to amplify the pervasiveness of disability conditions in our societies.
“Mr. Speaker, disability evokes different social constructions depending on the setting in which the concept is used. Ghana has several legal provisions that are meant to protect socially disadvantaged people including persons with disability whose rights and freedoms to overall equity and non-discrimination at any level are well guaranteed. Within the context of these provisions, we have as a nation formulated and pursued several policy interventions to minimize the challenges facing persons with disabilities.
“Mr. Speaker, Article 29 of the 1992 Constitution of the republic of Ghana clearly espouses the rights of person with disabilities. Several other national laws including the Children’s Act 1998 (Act 560), the National Health Insurance Act 2012 (Act 852) the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651), Pre-tertiary Education Act 2020 (Act 1046), among others, equally seek to protect the rights of persons with disabilities in Ghana.
“Mr. Speaker, in 2006, the Parliament of Ghana passed the Persons with Disability Act 2006 (Act 715) which appeared to be a preeminent disability specific legislations in Africa. The Act seeks to protect the rights of persons with disabilities and promote their effective participation in society at all levels. Among other things, Act 715 provides for rights such as unrestricted access to public places and buildings, free health care, employment, education and transportation”, the MPs said in the statement.
It added: “The law allows for a 10-year moratorium, within which all public buildings were expected to be made accessible for all including persons with disabilities. Unfortunately, the Ghana Accessibility Standards for the Built Environment developed by the Ghana Standards Authority with input from the disability Community been rendered a mere rhetoric”.