The National Council on Persons With Diabilities (NCPD) under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (GCSP) has organised disability inclusion summit to mark this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
This is first time Ghana has organised a disability inclusion summit which also coincided with the international day of PWDs which is marked on Dec 3 every year.
The maiden summit aimed at ending invisibility and building standards for disability inclusion and sustainable post COVID-19 Ghana.
Chairman, Governing Board of NCPD, Mr Yaw Ofori Debrah, expressed worry that the narrative of the disability situation in Ghana had always been one of “doom and gloom,” and called for a paradigm shift in the narrative.
He said it was time to depart from the norm, “Where we use occasions of that kind to lament the unfavourable treatments of persons with disabilities.”
The International Day of PWDs is a day set aside by the United Nations to raise global awareness about disability issues, and calls for commitments by nations to address developmental concerns of PWDs.
Mr Debrah said such special days should rather be used to celebrate the breakthroughs and fighting spirit of PWDs and their leadership, partner organizations and the media for their respective roles in helping to change the fortunes and destinies of PWDs.
He noted that persons with disabilities were better off today than before, stressing: “Today, persons with disabilities have access to education at all levels; employment Opportunities are on the increase.
“Involvement in decision making is on the upward spiral. Social acceptance has taken a dramatic turn for the better.”
The Ghanaian society, he also was incrementally becoming accessible to PWDs, but added: “All these did not happen by chance, but through the unrelenting struggle waged by players in the disability activism.”
He applauded successive Governments for playing diverse roles in upholding the rights and creating opportunities for PWDs to rise beyond the limitations of disability.
The Executive Director of NCPD, Ms Esther Akua Gyamfi, called for the need to realign and strengthen relationships with state agencies and disability people organisations.
“We need more research on disabilities to demystify the old age beliefs being held about conditions of persons with disabilities,” she said.
She indicated that the NCPD was developing a disaggregated data base on PWDs in the country to inform policy formulation and direction towards improving the lots of PWDs.
Ms Gyamfi said a process had been triggered and well advanced to review Ghana’s disability law to meet current socioeconomic and cultural dynamics to ensure economic and political inclusion of all.
The move is equally to allow PWDs realise to the fullest their fundamental rights and improve their wellbeing as enshrined in the country’s 1992 constitution.
The Executive Director also said the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme (LEAP) was being refocused to include PWDs, especially those above 60 years.
The summit featured panel discussions that assessed advocacy and strategies around disability work for coordinated national disability inclusion plan towards Ghana beyond aid.
Panelists also discussed ways of addressing issues like national inclusive healthcare as well as quality rights in mental, intellectual and psychosocial disabilities.