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The Parliamentary Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises, has begun an inspection of state and public facilities to ensure that they comply with provisions in the Disability Law.
The Law, Act 715, 2006, stipulates among other things that public building should be disability friendly, with facilities that enable disabled or physically challenged persons’ access to such buildings with ease.
The Committee visited Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, West Hill Mall at Weija, George Walker Bush (N1) Highway, and University of Ghana campus.
At the end of the first leg of the inspection which took three days, the Committee expressed mixed feelings about the institutions visited.
While some of the institutions visited were disability friendly, others still have long miles to go to catch the 2016 deadline for state institutions to upgrade their facilities as required under the law.
Mr Joseph Amenowode, Member of Parliament (MP) for Afadzato South and Chairman of the Committee, decried the delay or refusal of authorities of some public facilities to effect the necessary structural improvements to enable people with disability use those facilities without discomfort.
He said it was very important that all physical structures across the country be disability friendly in order to bridge the gap in the activities of the able and the disabled to foster national development.
The Chairman urged Ghanaians to accord the physically challenged the necessary compassion, right and space in society, explaining that people without physical challenges may at one time or the other fall sick and would have to be wheeled or carried in that form as result of incapacitation.
“Whatever we do today, we should remember that what the Disability Law prescribes is not only for the physically challenged but for also those who are presently without physical challenge but may become challenged because of circumstances.
“We need to ensure that all public buildings and structures are disability compliant before the deadline set by the Law. We need to do this with dispatch and for posterity,” he said.
The Committee suggested that public institutions, particularly health facilities, should utilise the services of qualified sign language interpreters to improve communication with people who have hearing and speech challenges.
The Committee after inspecting the NI Highway, asked the Ghana Highway Authority to, as a matter of urgency, provide ramps at vantage points on the highway to enable the disabled cross the road without difficulties.
The Committee commended Engineering and Development Consultants Limited of Israel, the contractors working on the 600-bed University of Ghana Teaching Hospital at Legon for installing disable-friendly structures in the hospital.
The Committee was however not enthused with the level of compliance in the lecture halls and hostels, urging the University authorities to rectify the situation.