President John Mahama yesterday, launched a Braille version of the ruling National Democratic Congress’ 2016 manifesto with a pledge to continue to cater for the needs of the disabled and ensure their active inclusion in development agenda.
The historic introduction of the Braille version, is to enable the visually impaired to access and analyse the content of the NDC manifesto which is recently in the party’s bid to retain power.
It makes Ghana the second country in Africa, after South Africa, to introduce a Braille manifesto, which the party believes would enable the disabled to hold the government to account.
Three per cent of Ghana’s population are physically challenged, out of which 40 per cent are visually impaired.
President Mahama, who launched the distribution of motorised tricycles for the disabled across the country, in Accra yesterday said the two interventions were indicative of his administration’s commitment to the development and inclusion of the physically challenged in national development.
“Social protection has been and will remain an integral part of the broad development policy of the NDC,” he said.
He enumerated the various interventions undertaken by the government in support of the physically challenged, citing the increased allocation percentage from the District Assemblies Common Fund for the disabled, skills training for the disabled, employment of over 4,000 disabled through the Youth Employment Agency, free registration of the disabled onto the National Health Insurance Scheme, as well as support for special schools, as key successes the government would build on in its next term.
In addition the President said the new Ayalolo rapid transport buses were disability friendly, adding that a new Ghana Accessibility Standard regulation would soon be introduced to ensure that all building structures and public places were disability friendly.
Touching on the performance of the visually impaired Minister of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, Dr Henry Seidu Daannaa, the President said he has been efficient and effective as any other cabinet minister, irrespective of his disability.
Dr. Daanaa’s inclusion in his ministerial team, he said, has made Cabinet more disability friendly, and urged Parliament to also get disability friendly in preparation to receive Dr. Daanaa who is also contesting the Wa East Parliamentary seat on the ticket of the NDC.
He assured the physically challenged of more support from the government indicating that, “Although we have done a lot, a lot remain to be done,” he said, adding that “we are clear on what has to be done and be promise to do it”.
As part of the launching copies of the Braille manifesto were handed over to the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisation for distribution to the various disability groups.
By Edmund Mingle