What Is Government’s Emergency Response Plan For COVID-19 For Persons With Disabilities In Ghana?
3rd April 2020: In the wake of the increase in the number of infections in Ghana, GFD is being asked many questions about concrete plans of the government for persons with disabilities in Ghana in managing the current pandemic of COVID-19 especially during the period of partial lockdown in some parts of the country.
As the lead organizations of the disability movement in Ghana, GFD is commending the government of Ghana for including sign language interpretation in its regular media briefing on COVID-19 led by the Ministry of Information.
The Federation and some stakeholders in the disability sector met with the President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo on 25th March to discuss disability inclusion in governments emergency response and activities on COVID-19 and the need for accessible information sharing on the pandemic.
The president has addressed the nation several times and put some measures in place to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, including the two weeks partial lockdown in some parts of the country. At a press briefing by the Ministry of Information on 1st April 2020 the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cynthia Morrison announced governments plan to support 10,435 persons with disabilities but such statement appeared vague. No concrete measure were outlined to ensure the safety and protection of persons with disabilities as was done for some categories of vulnerable groups like Kayaye”.
Persons with disabilities are asking if they have been catered for at all in the government’s emergency response plan. What kind of activities or support system is available for persons with disabilities?
People with disabilities are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 due to barriers in accessing preventive information and hygiene, reliance on physical contact with the environment or support persons, as well as respiratory conditions caused by certain impairments. Information about infection mitigating tips, public restriction plans, and the services offered in this critical moment are not accessible and available to all categories of persons with disabilities.
By this press release, we want to remind government of its responsibility to ensuring that proper support is given to persons with disabilities to meet their daily living requirements, including access to food, housing and quality healthcare.
We also call on the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection to give us the details of the support intended for persons with disabilities.
We call on government to use the regular media briefing sessions organized by the Ministry of Information to tell Ghanaians including persons with disabilities about specific actions taken to promote and protect persons with disabilities. That will be more assuring.
GFD assures the government of its readiness to support in mitigating COVID-19 in Ghana. With GFDs branches at national and regional levels as well as in over 236 districts in Ghana we are ready to provide technical support on disability issues all levels and also support in practical identification of persons with disabilities in their communities.
Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations is an umbrella organisation of nine distinct disability groups consisting Ghana Blind Union, Ghana National Association of the Deaf, Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, Mental Health Society of Ghana, Inclusion Ghana a group of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Ghana Association of Persons with Albinism, ShareCare Ghana a group of people with auto-immune conditions and cerebral palsy, Burns Survivor Foundation and Ghana Stammering Association. GFD works to promote full inclusion and effective participation of persons with disabilities in the Ghanaian society.