Mr. John Majisi, Executive Director, Action for Inclusive Development has underscored the need for investment in community-based rehabilitation for People with Disabilities (PWDs) to ensure disability inclusion.
He said community-based rehabilitation was a strategy in community development to recognize persons with disabilities.
Mr Majisi said this on the sidelines of a panel discussion to observe the Day of Disability, the passage of the Disability Act 715 of 2006, and challenges of the implementation of the Act.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) disability is any restriction or lack of ability in the sense of physical deformity to perform an activity within the range considered normal for every human being.
The Persons with Disability Act was passed by Parliament in June 2006 to improve the life of PWDs to enable them to be part of mainstream society. The Act among other things provides for rights including unrestricted access to public places and buildings, free healthcare, employment, education, and transportation.
Ghana signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2007 and ratified it in 2012 to become the 119th country in the world to do so and the 32nd in Africa.
Mr Majisi said persons with disability must be provided with the necessary resources and opportunities to be part of community development.
“PWD’s are part of the community, so they must be part of our all sectors of the economy including education and agriculture if we are looking at them as part of community development,” he said.
The Executive Director called on the Government to consider PWDs when planning developmental programs to ensure equal opportunities for all.
He recommended that the Government must provide special schools, wheelchairs, braille for the blind, and special teachers, and make their mobility easier for the disabled to gain the opportunity to be schooled.
“The Government must meet specific provisions that addresses the needs of PWD’s so that they can also find themselves as being part and parcel of the normal committee life,” he said.
The rehabilitation centres, Mr. Majisi said, must provide comprehensive services such as counselling and marketable skills which would enable PWDs to fit in wherever they may find themselves
He said the rehabilitation centres were not to discriminate against the PWDs but to provide them with personal skills to be able to fit in the community as well.
“They must enjoy family life with their wives and children as wel,” he added