Decentralised Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) across the country have been encouraged to prioritise the needs of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in planning and development processes.
The lack of prioritisation according to the leadership of persons with disability in the Wa Municipality in the Upper West Region, has led to gaps in meeting their needs in the areas of education, employment, agriculture and sports.
Speaking on behalf of the group, the Chairperson or the Ghana Blind Union in the municipality, Mr Peter Nabang, expressed for instance that sports involving PWDs had been relegated to the backyard as basic amenities needed to promote the sport were just not available.
Mr Nabang expressed this on Friday when a non-governmental organisation (NGO) Centre for Advancing Rural Opportunities (CARO) Ghana met with leadership of the PWDs in the Wa Municipality to document their felt needs for possible inclusion in the Medium Term Development Plan (MDTP) of the Municipal Assembly.
The meeting formed part of activities under a project dubbed “Promoting Accountability in Public Financial Management in Ghana” with support from the German Agency for International Coorperation (GIZ).
The meeting was to document the needs of the PWDs through their leadership and subsequently advocate their inclusion in the MTDP of the municipal assembly by the NGO.
He mentioned that in some areas, sports among persons with disability had been developed to the extent that they had teams that were well-trained and able to represent them at national and international events, but the situation was different from what happened in the Upper West Region.
In the area of education, the teacher at the Wa Methodist School for the Blind was more concerned about the number of challenges facing the various special schools in the region as well as the lack of opportunities for PWDs to receive training in information communication technology to also upgrade their skills.
He mentioned that, from the lack of basic infrastructure such as dormitories and structured school compounds to the inadequate supply of learning materials, children with disabilities at those schools had to study in very challenging environment which was sometimes detrimental to their wellbeing and development as children.
He believed they were faced with these challenges as a result of the lack of prioritisation of their needs by the government and the MMDAs, and appealed to them to consider the needs of persons with disabilities when drawing up their development plans.
The Executive Director for CARO Ghana, Mr Salifu Freeman Kanton, who led the group to draw a document containing 22 development areas of concern to them and needed to be included in the MTDP, said the government and the MMDAs were well aware of the PWD Act 2006, Act 715.
He mentioned that the aim of the project was to lobby for the inclusion of some of the concerns raised by the group in the MTDP and also monitor its implementation to ensure that the issues included in the plans were duly executed to meet the needs of PWDs in the municipality.
He encouraged the MMDAs to support the development of the sector of society by planning for them as well and also encouraged the PWDs update themselves with the PWD Act in order to demand for justice in cases where they felt discriminated against
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON