30.03.2005 General News

Disability Students discuss disability at forum

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Accra, March 30, GNA - The immediate past president of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled, Mr. Charles Appiagyei, has expressed grave concerns over the misconception held by some people that disability is caused by sin, witchcraft or some forms of curse. He explained that disability is any restriction resulting from an impairment of ability to perform an activity within the range considered normal for a human being, adding that the impairment may result from accident, diseases, malnutrition, conception and post natal complications. Mr. Appiagyei gave the explanation at a roundtable discussion held by members of the Association of the Students of Social Works (ASSOW) of the University of Ghana, Legon.

The theme for the discussion was, "Persons with Disabilities, Who are They?" He noted that disabilities have two dimensions, that is, social and medical models. Mr. Appiagyei said the social model sees disability as a social tragedy and the medical, an impairment that has traumatic physical and psychological effects on a person that they cannot ensure a reasonable quality of life for themselves by their own effects. He added that the social model explains disability as the restriction of the ability to participate in the mainstream of social activities, which results from the cultural, physical and social barriers of a society, which takes little or no account of people who have impairments.

Mr. Appiagyei expressed regret about the fact that some people hold a perception that persons with disabilities are accursed, and tabooed thereby stigmatising and excluding them in the scheme of things. Mr. Appiagyei, who is currently the Executive Director of the Vulnerable and the Excluded stressed that when barriers of attitudes and the environment are removed, there would not be any disabilities. He enjoined Parliament to expedite action on the passage of the Disability Bill into a law. The President of the ASSOW, Mr. Elvis Akora-Mensah on his part called for equal rights and opportunities for the persons with disabilities. He observed that greater percentage of disabled persons had no access to certain vital social services such as health and education. 30 March 05

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