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A reproductive health policy should be inclusive of disabled -GFD

botchway April 11, 2019

        

Although it said that all men are equal and, therefore, must be treated as such, the reality is not the same in the scheme of things, as some people tend to see themselves as being of a higher level and treat others lesser.

To correct these infractions in society, schemes, policies, laws and treaties have been ratified to provide room and opportunities to all, in respect to their ability and capacities.

Ironically, the documents are left on the shelves collecting dust, while the same old story of persons in need of critical support languish in vulnerability.

A critical case is Persons with Disability (PWD), who live as if they don’t exist as part of society because the kind of development the country adopts doesn’t favour them, hence they are left to their fate.

In the light of this, the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD), with funding from Amplify Change, is undertaking a project aimed at protecting Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) among PWDs.

The GFD, to ensure that the media plays a role in the project, organised a day’s training programme for some journalists to intensify positive reportage on PWDs in the country.

The training provided an opportunity to share research findings on stigma-related issues affecting PWDs, while accessing SRHR.

A consultant to the Federation, Archibald Adams, said it was improper that the country, till date, still has public facilities that pose challenges to PWDs.

“There are some public structures that are not disability friendly, and that is a major challenge,” meanwhile, he said, “When you go to some other countries, structures are designed to support all persons.”

Mr Adams said PWDs are part of the society, therefore, must be integrated with an inclusive policy, adding, “The problems that PWDs face with SRHR are not necessarily with their physical challenge, instead the lack of social amenities, legal protection, understanding and support.”

He added that children with disabilities are likely to experience more violence than their counterparts.

The Monitoring and Evaluation Manager for the Federation, Mr Moses Fourjour, on his part, stated that most of the healthcare centers are inaccessible to PWDs, despite the passage of the Disability Act since 2006.

Mr Fourjour also added that there is communication gap and also the attitude of health workers towards PWDs, often become a hindrance in accessing SRHR, as well as enjoying basic sexual needs.

He expressed concerned about how families treat their relatives with disability. “Disability does not make a person incapacitated, but rather makes them capable in different ways in different environments.”

Mr Fourjour said research has discovered health workers believe that disability is contagious despite their level of education, therefore, called for more enlightenment of health workers to erase the perceptions.

Another challenge discovered was that health workers often disclose confidential information on PWDs, which makes them uncomfortable when visiting the hospital.

 

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