Disability advocates are calling for the provision of disability-friendly facilities at all public buildings for Persons Living With Disabilities (PWDs) to enable them have easy access to offices and places.
They mentioned ramps and elevators for public buildings more than one-storey tall, parking lots clearly marked and reserved for PWDs and places for them to conveniently keep their mobile gadgets.
The advocates made the call at a day’s disability advocacy review meeting, aimed at making recommendations for adoption by the assemblies, to enhance the welfare of PWDs, on Tuesday, in Accra.
The event organised by Hope for Future Generation (HFFG) in collaboration with Psykforum, both non-governmental organizations (NGOs), brought together 27 representatives from the Department of Social Welfare, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Ghana Police Service, Office of the National Chief Imam, disability organisations and journalists.
They stressed that metropolitan, municipal and district buildings, police stations and courts should have wheelchairs for use by PWDs, who may visit the facilities without wheelchairs.
Touching on mobility in terms of transportation, the participants advocated that as a best practice elsewhere, at least two seats in public vehicles be reserved for PWDs at any particular time, but added that when the vehicle was full and the two seats were unoccupied by the PWDs, the seat may be given to other passengers.
They suggested that at least one person with disability should be appointed as a government appointee at the assembly level while similar appointee is made to serve on every Unit Committee.
The participants said this would promote political inclusion of PWDs in the country’s democratic governance, to advance the issues of disabilities at the policy level.
They were of the opinion that five per cent of stalls and stores constructed by the assemblies be reserved for PWDs to empower them economically.
The disability advocates also recommended that spaces for PWDs activities should be located on the ground floor of assembly buildings with washrooms and toilets.
They called for the setting up of vocational training centres for PWDs (formal and informal) in the districts.
Mrs Levlyn Konadu Adiedu, project officer of HFFG, said the recommendations would also form the basis for a policy dialogue being planned by the NGO, to influence policy at the national level.
She commended the participants for their inputs, saying “it is time that we shun all forms of stigmatisation and discrimination against persons living with disabilities.