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General News of Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Source: ghanaiantimes.com.gh

Persons with disabilities deplore lack of access to public buildings

File photo: Persons With Disabilities File photo: Persons With Disabilities

Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in the Nabdam District of the Upper East Region have expressed disappointment about the failure of successive governments to ensure that PWDs gain access to public buildings and spaces.

The PWDs expressed the disappointment at a Parliamentary Candidate Dialogue, a forum organised in the conference hall of the Nabdam District Assembly on Saturday.

The programme, organised by the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese of Catholic Church in collaboration with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), was to afford the stakeholders, including the PWDs, to quiz the two parliamentary aspirants competing for the Nabdam seat.

The two contestants are Dr Mark Kurt Nawaane of the National Democratic Congress and Mr Boniface Gambilla of the New Patriotic Party.

The event, organised under the church’s Governance, Justice and Peace Commission and sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), attracted other stakeholders, including market women, assembly members, school children and heads of department.

Mr Thomas Moore, one of the PWDs, stressed that it was very sad the present and successive governments had failed to promote access of PWDs to public facilities and spaces by ensuring that plans and designs for such buildings and other infrastructures adhered to the accessibility standard.

“It is so sad the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Municipal and District Assemblies, Gender Ministry and the road sector do not sanction institutions that have failed to comply with accessibility provisions in the law,” Mr Moore indicated.

Mr Francis Sampana, another PWD, narrated how he battled to attend an interview on one of the public buildings in the region which was not disability-friendly.

Checks by the Ghanaian Times confirmed that most of the public and private structures in the regional capital, for instance, including the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council, the Regional Police Command, the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly, and hotels were inaccessible to PWDs.

Section Six of the Persons with Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715) stipulates that: “The owner or occupier of a place to which the public has access shall provide appropriate facilities that make the place accessible to and available for use by a person with a disability.”

Section Seven of Act 715 also states: “A person who provides service to the public shall put in place the necessary facilities that make the service available and accessible to a person with a disability.”

Meanwhile, in their responses, both Parliamentary aspirants shared the sentiments of the PWDs and pledged that they would ensure the situation was addressed.

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