09.05.2005 Regional News

Physically challenged persons ask for positions on state bodies

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Accra, May 9, GNA - The Ghana Association of the Disabled has appealed to the President to consider nominations of disabled but qualified persons to the Council of State, the District Assemblies and boards of other state institutions.

They said the time had come for such appointments to make them participatory in the governance structures of the country. The Association made the request when the Minister of Manpower Development, Youth and Employment, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, and his Deputy Mrs Frema Osei-Opare paid a return visit to the Association at the Accra Rehabilitation Centre on Monday, to learn at first hand the conditions of the Centre.

Representatives of the Ghana Association of the Blind, the Ghana Federation of the Disabled, Ghana National Association for the Deaf, Ghana Association for the Blind, Department of Social Welfare and the Ghana Association of Parents of Children with Disabilities, were at the meeting.

The meeting discussed the state of Ghana's Disability Bill, integration of the disabled into the society and the provision of adequate social protection, not only for persons with disabilities, but also all Ghanaians including the aged and children. It also discussed the state of the Beggars Fund and the formation of a body to perform a liaison role in facilitating the passage of the Bill.

Various members, including Ms Grace Preko of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled, Mr Nicholas Halme of the Ghana Association for the Blind, Mr Kofi Asamoah, Administrator of the Ghana Association of the Deaf, complained on the slow passage of the Disability Bill. Mr Adda assured the Association that the Ministry was very much concerned with the issues affecting them and would take the matter up to see how to act upon them expeditiously. The Minister announced that the Ministry was fashioning out a comprehensive social protection programme, which would cover the aged, disabled, the youth and the employer to ensure adequate protection for all Ghanaians.

The Social Protection Programme would address and work on non-contentious issues in the Bill. "We expect in the process to package your needs to revamp social development in Ghana," Mr Adda said.

Mrs Osei-Opare, who is also in Charge of Social Services at the Ministry, agreed on the need for the disabled to serve on key governance structures as the Bill was being prepared. As part of the meeting, the Minister's entourage, which included Mrs Mary Amadu, Director of Social Welfare as part, also toured the Chalk Production unit, the Craft and Cane Chairs, Leather and Shoe Making Section and the Braille Press.

Other places visited were the woodwork sections as well as the dormitories and the offices of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled and the Ghana National Association of the Deaf.

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