The United Nations Population Fund (UNFP) Ghana has donated dignity kits worth GH҃¢56,000 to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to ensure that they stay safe from the COVID-19 and have access to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) information.
The items which were donated to various groups under the Ghana Federation of Disability (GFD) included sanitary pads, toothpastes, hand sanitisers, condoms and boxer shorts.
The Deputy Representative of UNFPA Ghana, Dr Agnes Ntibanyurwa speaking at a short ceremony in Accra on Wednesday, said the outreach formed part of several UNFPA’s interventions to improve Sexual and Reproductive Health, Family Planning and Sexual Gender Based Violence (SRH/FP/SGBV) among PWDs.
She bemoaned the rate at which PWDs were facing barriers in accessing healthcare services, including family planning amidst the fear of contracting the coronavirus and unavailability of the full complement of staff to provide services.
According to her, the barriers were contributing to a rise in unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and some maternal deaths.
Dr Ntibanyurwa explained that, the coronavirus pandemic was threatening efforts to achieve global and national SRH/FP targets, including the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and ‘FP 2020’ targets.
This she said was straining their efforts to achieving the three UNFPA transformative results: “zero unmet need for family planning, zero preventable maternal deaths and zero sexual and gender based violence and harmful practice.”
“In fact the pandemic threatens to reverse gains made over the years in improving uptake and reducing domestic violence and other forms of violence,” she added.
She, therefore, urged the government to include PWDs in the COVID-19 response to help them access healthcare delivery as they risk the highest chance of contracting the disease.
Dr Ntibanyurwa pledged UNFPA’s commitment to supporting the government to explore innovative means to reach women, adolescent girls and vulnerable populations with essential social services and vital information.
She urged the PWDs and other vulnerable groups to adhere strictly to the government’s directive to wear face masks, to ensure social distancing, to frequently wash hand under running water and eat nutritious food to boost their immune system.
Receiving the donation, the Executive Director of the GFD, Mrs Rita Kusi Kyeremeh commended UNFPA for its continuous support to them and assured to put them to good use.
“We hope to sustain the partnership we have with you to help improve the lives of PWDs,” She added.
BY VIVIAN ARTHUR