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04.12.2005 General News

Ministry draws protection strategy for disabled

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Tamale, Dec 4, GNA - The Ministry of Manpower, Development, Youth and Employment (MDYE) is drawing up a social protection strategy to mainstream persons with disabilities into society to enable them to enjoy the same rights and privileges every person enjoys. In this regard the sector Ministry is dialoging with some public sector organisations and the business community to put up new structures to make special provision for physical facilities that would ensure access to public services.

Mr. Kofi Adda, Minister for MDYE said this at the celebration of these years International Day of the Disabled that was organised by the Ghana Federation of the Disabled in Tamale on Saturday. The occasion was under the theme: "Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Action on Development- The challenge".

Mr Adda said recently the Apex Rural Bank at Paga commissioned one of such facilities while the sector ministry was also taking steps to provide such facilities in the National headquarters as well as the National office of the Department of Social Welfare. He said tendering was also currently going on for the rehabilitation of some centres in Accra which had not seen refurbishment for a very long time, adding that plans were far advanced to equip the rehabilitated centres with tools of various trades to enable the disabled to engage in productive ventures.

Touching on the "Persons with Disability Bill", Mr. Adda said the bill was with a cabinet committee and after next week, hopefully with a few remaining issues addressed it would be sent to Parliament.

Mr. Adda declared that 2006 would be a year of action in which the sector ministry would implement policies and programmes to promote and protect the rights and welfare of the disabled. Mr. Yaw Ofori Debrah, President of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) said it was only when the rights of persons with disabilities were respected that action can be said to have being taken on development.

He said the goal of halving the number of people leaving in poverty by 2015 can not be achieved if persons leaving with disabilities are not included in the development agenda.

He said the GFD was implementing the disability component of the Decent Work Pilot Programmed of the ILO and the Government of Ghana in two districts in the Central region.

Under the Programmed Persons with disabilities would have trainining in income generating activities, which would make them self-employed, and employable-thus reducing poverty levels and dependence on others for a means of livelihood.

Mr Debrah disclosed that the MPYE had through the District Assemblies give one million cedis micro-credit scheme for people with disabilities and also supported the GFD with five million cedis to organise the celebration of the International Day of the Disabled. Earlier in the day the disabled undertook a two-hour march through some of the principal streets of the Tamale Metropolis carrying placards some of which read: "Are we in the poverty reduction strategy", "Poverty causes disability", "Respect and honour our rights", " Government, pass the Disability Bill and disability anybody's lot any time".

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