The School of Public Health, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, yesterday (3rd December, 2019) joined the global community in celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). The event took place at the forecourt of the Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies under the theme “Promoting the Participation of Persons with Disabilities to Attain the Sustainable Development Goals”. The Dean of the School, Prof. Ellis Owusu-Dabo, in his welcome address affirmed the significance of the IDPD in increasing public awareness and understanding of disability issues. He posited that the quest to achieve universal health coverage cannot be realised without eliminating all barriers to access to healthcare by persons with disabilities (PE.
On his part, Prof. Anthony Kwaku Edusei, the head of Department of Health Promotion and Disability Studies and Coordinator for the Office of Persons with Disabilities under the Vice Chancellor’s Office stressed the need to broaden our understanding of the concept of disability which he said goes beyond impairments to include participation restrictions and activity limitations. To promote the participation of PWDs and accelerate progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, he further pointed to the urgent need to improve upon the physical and built environments, changing negative attitude towards PWDs and restraining from the use of inappropriate utterances that undermine the worth and dignity of PWDs. While commending the University management for developing a disability policy and setting up an office to address disability related issues, he urged the University community to take the necessary steps at their respective levels to encourage the participation of PWDs in all university activities.
Finally, Mr. Ato Dennis-Dadzie, the president of the KNUST Chapter of the Ghana Association of Disability and Rehabilitation Students expressed his frustration concerning the persistence of negative stereotypes about PWDs in Ghana and the numerous barriers that hinder the full participation of PDWs in the socio-economic development of the country. He appealed to the management of the University to address a number of challenges confronting the student body including inadequate space for lectures and lack of alternative source of power.
The gathering was treated to a poster exhibition of the achievements, acceptable expressions that promote participation of PWDs as well as areas needing improvement to provide increased access for PWDs.