The National Council on Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), has asked to be placed under the Office of the President for effective administration.
The council believes that if this is done, challenges confronting persons living with disability (PWD) will be addressed with dispatch.
Addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday, on the status of Ghana Standard on Accessibility Design (GSAD), Mrs. Bernive Lyle, a member, said “the current situation where the council is multi-sectorial breeds bureaucracy, leading to delays in activities”.
The GSAD is a new policy expected to be gazetted early next year, to regulate planning of buildings, especially public ones, to be disabled friendly.
When codified, the GSAD would be a blue-print for people involved in design, implementation, supervision and decision-making on programmes where accessibility is a component.
It aims at providing an accessible built environment to all manner of persons and increasing the awareness on the accessibility standards and the need for barrier free design in the built environment.
According to Mrs. Lyle, placing the needs of the disabled community under the watch of the President was the global norm and Ghana should not be any different in the attention given to disabled persons.
She said as a vulnerable group in society, the speed with which their needs had been responded to was worrying, and that the example of other countries was worth emulating.
For more than 10 years after the passage of the Disability Act, Mrs. Lyles said, little had been done in responding to their needs and now was the time to realistically tackle their challenges to end the discrimination.
She cited ministries, department and agencies among other public and private facilities, without disability friendly components as making life excruciating for disabled people.
She called on the president to consider their plea so as to ensure their needs were responded to with the speed the concern of other groups in the country were accorded.
Acting Executive Secretary of the NCPD, Mr. Kwabena Dadzie-Dennis, on his part said the council was systematically implementing some of its programmes to make life more comfortable for persons with disabilities.
He named the inclusion of PWD as government appointees in the local governance structure of the country, increasing the District Assemblies Common Fund for PWDs from two to three per cent, the increase in beneficiaries of the livelihood empowerment against poverty for PWDs among others as evident of efforts targeted at improving their living conditions.
Mr. Dadzie-Dennis said the council will further push for more reforms to accommodate the concerns of PWDs including skills training to ensure sustainable development for PWDs.
By Julius Yao Petetsi