Ministry promotes rights of vulnerable groups
To ensure efficient service delivery and policy initiatives, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) is designing an e-data system which will have significant impact for data collection and analysis.
This would enable the ministry and other government institutions to provide adequate services to all categories of people, including women, children, the vulnerable and the disabled.
The sector minister, Nana Oye Lithur, made this known in New York when she addressed the 68th United Nations General Assembly Session high level meeting on disability and development on realisation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other internationally agreed development goals for persons with disabilities.
It is estimated that about 7 to 10 per cent of Ghana's population, approximately 1.55 to 2.2 million people are persons with disability and according to the minister, through extensive research and advocacy, Ghana enacted the Persons with Disability Act 2006 (Act 715) and subsequently signed and ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007 and 2012 respectively.
According to her, it was the mandate of her ministry to ensure gender equality through mainstreaming gender considerations, promoting the welfare and protection of children and empowering the vulnerable, excluded aged and persons with disability through the use of social protection interventions to achieve national development.
She said in order to harmonise the country's obligations under both local and International Law, the ministry, was reviewing the provisions of the Persons with Disability Act 2006 (Act 715) to realign them with those of the Convention.
To this end, she said a Legislative Instrument to promote the effective implementation of the Act has subsequently been drafted.
The government she said had put in place initiatives all geared towards improving the lives of persons with disabilities but however said those have been bedeviled with some challenges.
Admittedly, she said the issues of availability and the regularity of release of funds for the implementation of some programmes have been a major setback, as most of the activities were funded solely by government, saying that this obviously makes implementation of planned activities rather slow.
In 2012, she said approximately 5000 PWDs benefited from skills training in Information Communication Technology systems, with the ministry also initiating programmes to enrol persons with disabilities on the National Health Insurance Scheme at no cost.
Nana Lithur said the government was appreciative of the collaboration from Civil Society and particularly the Ghana Federation of the Disabled, saying that it also sought to collaborate and partner with other countries and development partners as it advanced with its programmes for PWDs to promote an inclusive government and sustainable national development.
To ensure that the concerns of PWDs in Ghana were adequately addressed, she called on the international communities to support financially and technically to accelerate the visibility of the disability perspective in the countries developmental pursuit to ensure that the rights of PWDs are respected, promoted and protected.
She said Ghana had also passed the Mental Health Act 2012, which adopted a humane approach to accessing health care by persons with mental disabilities and made provisions to protect them from discrimination and stigmatisation, saying that the establishment of the Authority to man the act, would soon be realised considering the extent of advocacy that Civil Society had been engaged in since its enactment.