Mr Israel Akrobortu, Volta Regional Director, Department of Children, has called on societies and families to ensure that children especially visually impaired, feel safe in their communities and homes.
He said since the children cannot see properly, people within the neighbourhood who have the eyes to see must ensure that the visually impaired children were protected to the fullest.
Mr Akrobortu during a Department of Children and Visio International engagement with parent support group in Hohoe, said, “you go to some community, they dig a hole, the visually impaired child doesn’t know that a hole is ahead of them. So, we are saying that nothing of that should be in our communities. Because if we allow it, they will go and hurt themselves.”
He said families, societies and stakeholders must not discriminate against the visually impaired because “one of the principles of the UN Convention on the right of the child had to do with non-discrimination.”
Mr Akrobortu noted that visually impaired children must be given same treatment given to other children since they also got potentials in them adding that most at times, parents of visually impaired children, locked them up in the room.
He said it was not the best since it was a violation on the right of the child and goes against the laws protecting children both nationally and internationally while urging such parents to love their children.
Mr Akrobortu said the formation of the parent support group, aimed at empowering and teaching parents how to handle their visually impaired children adding that positive results were being received from the group.
He appealed to all especially traditional and religious bodies, district assemblies to come on board to protect the children within their jurisdiction.
Mr Jeremiah Badu Shayar, Country Programme Coordinator, Holistic Development Programme for Visually Impaired Children (HODVIC) with support from Visio International, said they supported the visually impaired in terms of the blindness and partial sighted as well as habilitate and build capacity of children of visual impairment.
He said they were looking at the holistic development of the child of visual impairment in the home, school and the community and how the child must function and for the school, the child must function as a regular child with the support of some assistive devices to support learning.
Mr Shayar said the parent support group formation was to support the parents since most of them became frustrated and to prevent that, their capacities were built to be able to take care of the child and support them to be independent in their homes.
He said eyes of some children kept deteriorating because it was realised that some parents were not taking them to regular check-ups as recommended by the optometrist, ophthalmic nurse and the ophthalmologist.
Mr Shayar said some children as a result, had also stopped their medication which was aggravating and deteriorating the situation of the child and some challenges given were stigma and financial constraint.
Dr Eric Kwao, Optometrist, Volta Regional Hospital, Hohoe, said ways to give one’s eye a healthy vision was consumption of fruits and vegetables such as oranges, mangoes, and kontomire, dandelions since most of them gave vitamin C and A respectively and were very strong antioxidants.
He said there was the need to check one’s lifestyle in protecting their eyes and not expose them to the sun and wear sunshades, protect the eye from injuries and chemicals.
Dr Kwao said it was recommended that everyone checked their eyes once every year in an eye clinic while people who wear spectacles must test their prescription every two years to see if the prescription was still okay for the eye.
Mr Henry Yanpalleh, Hohoe Municipal Social Welfare Officer, said the Department would continue to advocate for the rights of the visually impaired to be included in development planning.
He said they would also continue to support them with their quota through economic empowerment, education and assistive devices.