The Chief Director of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has urged managers of public and private institutions to budget for the easy and full participation of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in socio-economic activities.
Mr Kwesi Armo-Himbson told the Ghana News Agency that allocating resources for the integration of facilities in infrastructure; as well as services for the wellbeing and convenience of PwDs should be considered as an essential part of the total budget and, not an additional funding.
The interview was on the sidelines of the 55th Session of the United Nations Commission for Social Development, being held at the world body’s headquarters in New York, on the theme: “Strategies for Eradicating Poverty to Achieve Sustainable Development For All.”
Mr Armo-Himbson explained: “PwDs are also citizens who have productive capacities that must be tapped for national development; while the national resources are for everybody’s well-being and enjoyment of a healthy life, so why must they struggle to have their fair share?
“They attend the same schools, banks or clinics with us, join the same buses and access the same information we need to make our daily lives worthy, so why must we necessarily not provide the facilities and services that will make them comfortable?”
Everyone must be mindful that disability was not restricted to any group of persons because every individual could end up with one, he said.
Providing for them should then be seen as planning for everyone’s future needs.
The Chief Director said at public functions and in every public institution, especially clinics, there must be persons who could do the sign language to communicate with the hearing impaired.
“How does the doctor diagnose the sickness of a person with hearing impairment when they can’t communicate or that person access information from any public office?” he asked.
Mr Armo-Himbson, therefore, urged institutions to send some of their front desk officers or volunteers to participate in the Ministry’s programme for sign-language training for social welfare officers.
He also appealed to them to employ PwDs with the requisite qualifications to enhance their opportunities to sustainable livelihoods.
On the lessons from the 10-day Social Development Session, he said, the Chief Director said there were suggestions, at some of the side events, to impose levies or taxes to create sustainable funds for Social Protection.
However, Ghana had to build consensus on the best way so that a good balance would be created in the interest of stakeholders.
Ghana’s Social Protection Policy is grounded on the 1992 Constitution, and aims at creating a socially just and all-inclusive society.
Article 35 the Directive Principles of State Policy provides for just and reasonable access of all citizens to all public facilities and services; and the respect for the fundamental human rights and freedoms and the dignity of the human person.