Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana (YHFG), a youth focus Non-Governmental Organization in the Upper East Region is advocating for full implementation of the Disability Act for the protection of persons with disabilities (PWDs).
The Act which was enacted in 2006 makes it mandatory for all public buildings to be fitted with disability-friendly facilities to make them accessible to persons with disabilities.
But speaking to A1 NEWS during a stakeholder’s engagement with PWDs in the Bongo district of Upper East Region, Project Officer at the YHFG, Albert Nyaaba said, the over 10-year moratorium Act since its inception, seems irrelevant for the purpose for which it was enacted.
“It is over 10 years and nobody is talking about it or implementing the Act. Some of the reasons why some of them [PDWs] drop out of schools is because of the access to the classrooms, washrooms and toilet facilities which they were unable to use”.
He observed that, successive governments have dragged their feet in implementing the Act and called on government to demonstrate political willingness and implement the law for the benefit of persons with disabilities.
“Disability is not inability. Persons with disabilities should have equal access to education, health care and they should have equal access to whatever that all of us are enjoying”.
Mr. Nyaaba further appealed to government to prioritize the disbursement of its COVID-19 stimulus package to PWDs to help mitigate their plight.
“Government should look forward to supporting persons with disabilities. Because, some of them who are into skill training and businesses have grounded to a halt. So the stimulus package, we are asking that government should allocate a certain proportion to persons with disabilities in Ghana”.
The YHFG also provided the PWDs with nose masks with a call on them to continue adhering to the COVID-19 safety protocols to stem the spread of the virus.
For his part, President of the Bongo chapter of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organization (GFD), Clement Mba, said, members of the organization who are into petty trading like basket weaving, smocking weaving and leather works have been hardly hit economically by the virus.
“Because of the Covid-19, our businesses are affected so we are appealing to the government to come to our aid and support us”.
The YHFG stakeholder’s engagement was under the NGO’s “Safe and Protective Environment for Adolescent Development (SPREAD)” project.
The project which is funded by the Global Affairs Canada through UNICEF is being implemented in 6 districts of the Upper East Region.
These include; Bongo, Talensi, Nabdam, Bawku West, Kassena-Nankana West and Builsa South districts respectively.
The project, which advocates for an all-inclusiveness is geared towards contributing to ending teenage pregnancies, child marriages, sexual and gender based violence among citizens especially the most vulnerable, towards attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
A Project Officer at the YHFG in charge of sexual and reproductive health, Kadijah Hamida urged the PWDs to regularly request and access information and services regarding their reproductive health.