Health facilities urged to broaden disability inclusion

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Ghana Federation of Disabled People’s Organizations logo

Participants at World Bank Capacity Building Workshop in Accra on Accessibility of Health for People with Disabilities (PWD) Urge Healthcare Facilities to Expand Disability Inclusion to Meet Challenges of COVID Pandemic -19.

As a first step, participants called for the establishment of offices for people with disabilities, and where they already exist, for adequate resources, with improved means of communication and health messages for the benefit of people with disabilities. .

The establishment of disability offices, which will be headed by specially trained health professionals, would allow people with physical and mental problems to attract the attention of health professionals in health facilities.

“The offices for people with disabilities, suggested by the participants, would also allow the management of health facilities and the ministry to be regularly informed of the emergency health needs of people with physical and mental problems”, Ms. Rita Kusi Kyeremaa , Executive Director of the Ghana Disabled People’s Federation. Organizations (GFD) told the Ghana New Agency (GNA), after a session at the workshop on Monday.

Ms. Kyeremaa added, “We are here for a training session for health workers on disability issues.

“This is an event sponsored by the World Bank through the Ministry of Health as part of the Covid-19 emergency response program.

“We are trying to improve the knowledge of health workers, especially frontline health workers, in their dealings with people with disabilities in health facilities during this time of Covid.

“Today we introduce them to the whole concept of disability, the concept of inclusion and discuss how best to include in practical terms the needs of people with disabilities in our healthcare facilities.”

Ms Kyeremaa insisted on the need to expand disability inclusion and explained that attention to the needs of people with disabilities in health facilities had been based on medical models, with policies and practices not really focused. on people with disabilities.

“Access to health is a challenge for people with disabilities, in some cases health services are inaccessible; there are negative perceptions and activities towards people with disabilities.

According to the Executive Director, the type of communication that exists @ in access to health facilities has deepened the need to increase knowledge about disability inclusion.

“With the Covid-19 epidemic, it has deepened even more as people with disabilities will have to destroy any chance of having better services when they become a challenge.”

Ms. Kyeremaa called for a critical look at the inclusion of health disability by all stakeholders.

Mr. Kwame Mensah, program manager of SFM, announced that the workshop, which attracted health professionals and workers from some public health facilities in the Greater Accra and Eastern regions, would be replicated in four other regions with participants from eight other regions.

“GFD, with the support of the World Bank, is organizing workshops to build the capacity of health workers in five zones (10 regions) across the country to implement disability-inclusive health care during emergencies for people. with disabilities, ”said Mensah.

He noted that people with disabilities have traditionally been excluded in the planning and delivery of disaster response and preparedness measures, including the planning and delivery of health services.

“They are often not counted or identified before, during or after emergencies, and are rarely consulted or represented in emergency risk management.

“Caregivers, families of people with disabilities and health service providers may also lack knowledge and information about what they can do in emergency settings to support people with disabilities.

Many people with disabilities have additional underlying health needs that make them particularly vulnerable to severe symptoms of COVID-19, if they contract it.

In addition, people with disabilities may also be at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 because information about the disease, including symptoms and prevention, is not provided in accessible formats such as printed materials in Braille, interpretation in sign language, captions, audio provision, graphics and tactile communication.

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