A University lecturer is suggesting the implementation of a pragmatic citizenship education that will influence understanding, mental and attitudinal change among Ghanaians in caring for People with Disabilities (PWDs) in the country. In spite of constitutional provisions on ensuring the physical, mental and social wellbeing of the needy and vulnerable in society, the estimated five million Ghanaians who have disabilities continue to lament the social stigma and discrimination meted out to them by various stakeholders including the family.
About 2.8million Ghanaians have a mental disability with only one percent of the country’s health budget earmarked for mental health services.
Physical disability is defined as when a person’s physical functioning, mobility, dexterity or stamina is limited. Speaking in an interview on whose role it is to meeting the needs of people with disabilities, Dr. Samuel Adu-Gyamfi of the History Department of the KNUST, criticized the implementation of some cultural and traditional practices that satisfy the whims and caprices of few members of society but affect people with disabilities negatively. “Discriminating against people with disabilities is a grievous crime and government and all Ghanaians are culpaable”, he stressed.
Section 9 of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 2006 (ACT 715) says the sector ministry shall through public education centers assist to secure jobs for the persons with disabilities while section 10 adds that government shall grant a person who employs persons with disabilities an annual tax rebate of a taxable income in respect of each person with disability”.
Dr. Adu-Gyamfi is worried in spite of these legal provisions, persons with disabilities hardly find well-paid jobs, a situation he described as “an affront to social enhancement”. He however commended the Ministry for Children, Gender and Social protection for the various interventions made to salvage PWDs from societal abuse.
Contributing to the topic, Mr. Richard Elimah, Executive Director of the Center for Social Impact Studies, an NGO, called for strict adherence to Affirmative Action that bends the rules to favor the physically challenged and satisfy their psychological needs for acceptance by all society. He wants inclusive governance that encompasses ideas from all people living with disabilities.
When reached for his comments, legal practitioner, Nana Akrasi Agyapong called for the prosecution of all people who promote discrimination of the poor, needy, vulnerable and people living with disabilities.