Government has in partnership with the World Bank, presented over 20,000 wheelchairs to the Ghana Federation of Disabilities Organisations as part of ongoing interventions to improve their livelihoods and wellbeing.
The manual and powered wheelchairs, to be distributed by the Ministry of Health through the various District Health Directorates, will enhance personal mobility, a precondition for enjoying human rights and living in dignity.
They would equally assist the persons with disabilities in becoming more productive members of our communities.
Presenting the wheelchairs at a brief ceremony in Accra yesterday, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, said the donation was further evidence of Government’s renewed commitment to building a fair and inclusive society, which ensures that all citizens share in the country’s wealth and prosperity, irrespective of their background.
“Without a doubt, the past one year has been challenging for many of us because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Problems of social equity, how to defend the weak and most vulnerable in society, how to provide social housing, how to improve equitable access to health care to all citizens in the country regardless of where they live, how to ensure increased access to the education of all Ghanaian children, have always been at the core of our social policy challenges. These challenges have always been there. COVID-19 just amplified the challenges.
“As we are all aware, persons with disabilities are always confronted with these challenges, which prevent them from having a decent quality of life and fulfilling their true potential.
“The Government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is not insensitive to these challenges, hence the implementation of several initiatives to ease and to eliminate the obstacles many of you face in your everyday lives”, he pointed out.
The Vice President was assisted by the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu and Dr Anthony Seddoh, World Bank Country Lead for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
He added that “Some of the initiatives undertaken since 2017 include the presentation in 2020 of GH¢4 million to 2,000 disabled men and women entrepreneurs under the Presidential Empowerment for Male Entrepreneurs with Disability (PEMED) and the Presidential Empowerment for Women Entrepreneurs with Disability (PEWED) respectively; and the handing over of 10,000 hospital beds to the Minister for Health for distribution across the country”.
Vice President Bawumia said through the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), Government also provided students living with disability in selected tertiary institutions with assistive technology-enabled devices and training to promote their digital inclusion in 2019, and also provided 240 fit-for-purpose gender and disability friendly school sanitation facilities to over 231,870 school pupils of low-income communities in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) through the GAMA Sanitation and Water Project.
“Government is also exploring opportunities to remove existing barriers in public buildings, educational systems, healthcare and in the job market to provide opportunities for all. The challenge for us is how our collective actions can minimize some of the circumstances that deny other citizens the benefits of personal mobility”.
Citing World Health Organisation reports which indicate that except for infectious diseases such as polio, malaria, and meningitis, the foremost cause of disability is road accidents, Vice President Bawumia expressed worry that such accidents, particularly from motorised accidents, do not only cause death but could also leave occupants and innocent pedestrians disabled.
“I therefore urge road users to abide by the traffic rules and regulations. A great mind once said, ‘Nothing is of greater importance than the conservation of oneself.’ Let us remind ourselves that to walk is a right, to drive or to ride is a privilege.”