Story: Kwabena AKYEANA
A Disability Inclusion Retreat has been held for some selected Members of Parliament (MPs) in Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
Accotding to the organisers of the retreat is to give the disability caucus in parliament an opportunity to better understand disability issues.
Dr Clement Apaak, Chairman of the Disability Caucus in parliament and an MP for Builsa South, who described the retreat as insightful, said: “As a nation we haven’t done much in addressing challenges that persons with disability face, we have only been paying lip service.”
The two-day retreat organized by Ghana Somubi Dwumadie, a four-year disability programme with a specific focus on mental health and Sight Savers Ghana, a non-governmental organization with support from UK-Aid, discussed the disability concept and context in Ghana.
The retreat brought together selected members of parliament and civil society players in the disability sector as well as officials from the National Council on Persons with Disability.
Ms Rita Kusi Kyeremaa, Executive Director of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations (GFD) said the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) described disability was an evolving concept, saying “there is no single definition of disability.
She said interim findings from the Ghana Statistical Service 2021 census indicate that about eight per cent of persons with disabilities live in Ghana.
The eight per cent means that about 2,098, 138, persons with disability live in Ghana, she said and added that even though the figure may not be accurate, it shows a sharp increase in the number of persons with disabilities compared with the statistics for persons with disabilities in the 2010 population and housing census.
Ms Kyeremaa thus called on the members of parliament to develop interest in disability issues and help formulate good policies that enhance the lives of persons with disabilities
Mr Alexander Bankole Williams, Advocacy Chairman of the GFD Advocacy committee, explaining the social model of disability, said disability is created by the social environment which excludes people with impairment from full participation as a result of attitudinal, environmental and institutional barriers.
“The social models indicates that it is the structures or things we fail to put in place in society that disables a person not the impairment,” he added.
Adding his voice to the call for the full implementation of Ghana’s Inclusive Education Policy, Mr Williams said that every child is educatable within a mainstream educational setting.