The UNFPA Deputy Country Representative for Ghana, Dr. Agnes Ntibanyurwa, has stated that UNFPA remains committed to support government to explore innovative means to reach out to women, adolescent girls and as well as vulnerable populations with essential social services and vital information.
On the backdrop of this, the UNFPA set out to support government in the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), dignity kits and others, as part of the emergency responses to fight the Coronavirus pandemic,
Dr. Agnes Ntibanyurwa, indicated that, UNFPA will continue to advocate for the prioritization of the provision of essential health care services, including SRH/ FP services to all persons including PWDs , even during the pandemic. Adding that, “It is important to minimize disruption to the provision of contraceptives to clients and to ensure commodity security and a functional supply chain, amidst COVID-19.”
She was speaking during a donation of relief items to the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations (GFDO), on Wednesday June, 17th 2020, at Adabraka in Accra.
UNFPA supported the various groups under Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations with some items to contribute in ensuring that the PWD stay safe from COVID-19 and as well continue to have access to SRH/FP and SGBV information and also enable them to decide on when and with whom to have a family.
Dr. Agnes Ntibanyurwa, hinted that COVID-19 has affected every body in several ways. Saying, “It has disrupted our normal way of doing things including how we implement programs. Women, adolescent girls, refugees, people with disability are facing barriers in accessing heath car services including Family Planning amidst the fear of contracting the virus and unavailability of the full complement of staff to provide services.”
She also noted that, it has contributed to the risk in unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and some maternal deaths and rise the in case of sexual and gender based violence including rape and domestic partner violence.
Dr. Ntibanyurwa, while addressing the gathering, stressed that keeping from the virus excludes a number of PWDs, however, the adverts are featured without sign language interpretation and other accessible formats.
This she said the Sustainable Development Goals, UN Convention on the rights of persons with Disabilities, the Ghana Disability Act and other human rights instruments enjoin states to respect the rights of vulnerable groups and ensure that no one is left behind in development and that everyone is catered for during pandemics such us COVID-19. To this regard, UNFPA will continue to support the government to explore innovative means to serve vulnerable populations.
They further educated the Federation on Covid-19, it’s preventives and family planning, it benefit to them and to the Nation at large. They urged PWDs to obey and adhere strictly to government’s directives including wearing of face masks, social distancing, frequent hand washing under running water and eating nutritious food to boost their immune system.
On behalf of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations (GFDO), the Executive Director,
Rita Kusi Kyeremaa, speaking on social distancing measures, noted the Federation has used online platforms such as zoom to organize meetings with its member organizations and stakeholders and it has been very effective in keeping up with activities and sharing information.
She intimated that Federation engaged the government on the needs of persons with disability, a result which saw the Minister of Information and the President bringing on board the services of sign language interpretation during the nations address and other public engagements.
The GFDO Director, continued that, organization has developed IEC for targeted members to address issues such as understanding and adhering to the WHO protocol’s, mental health and what needs to be done to stay safe and free from complications that may arise due to anxiety and depression, who to contact in case of emergencies and key issues.
Nonetheless, GFDO was very appreciative of the outreach saying “It is not everyone who devotes their time to explain matters of reproductive health to you, particularly if you live with disability.” She added.
Madam Rita Kusi Kyeremaa, seized the opportunity to express her profound gratitude to the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA), for their continues support to the Ghana Federation of Disability and further called on other organizations to emulate same.
Comfort Agyir-Aggrey (Mrs), Regional Public Health Nurse, on her part, remarked that, Family Planning is for everybody. Saying, “It is good for married couples because, they will freely decide on the number of children they want to have. It can help young people to be careful in relationships and to avoid irresponsible sexual behaviours that may result in teenage pregnancy or contracting STIs, HIV/AID.”
Mrs. Aggrey, therefore appealed to all Ghanaians especially, PWDs to adhere to WHO and Government’s directives to control the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFDOs) were grateful to the UNFPA and Ghana Health Service for the outreach, donation and called for more of such events to be organised in the communities.
Key PWDs who attended the event includes the visually impaired, hearing impaired, persons with albinism, persons with physical disability and persons with autism.
By: Bernard k. DADZIE.