The West African Federation of Persons Living with Disabilities (WAFOD) has urged West African leaders to develop strategies to include Persons with Disabilities in government programs and policies, particularly in the area of accessibility.
Addressing participants at a forum held in Accra President of the Federation, Mr. Yatma Fall disclosed that Persons Living with Disabilities(PWDs) in West Africa are most often faced with accessibility challenged and blamed successive governments for failing to address this challenge.
He pointed out that in accordance with the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Right of People Living with Disabilities, governments from different nations should make infrastructure facilities, social amenities, technology, and information accessible to them, but that is often not the case.
Mr. Yatma Fall said the main aim of the forum was to come out with recommendations that could be accepted and worked with by various governments across West Africa.
Though Mr. Yatma Fall admitted that a lot has been done by various governments, he still believed there is a lot more that needed to be done.
The WAFOD President was of hoped that participants would come out with recommendations that would help address their needs.
Mr. Fall assured the participants of the WAFOD leadership’s efforts to present their recommendations to the appropriate quarters.
Meanwhile, Ghana’s Gender Minister, Madam Lariba Abudu hinted that the government of Ghana shares the objectives WAFOD wanted to achieve and therefore had taken steps to address and meet them.
In a speech read on her behalf by the representative from her office, Madam Esther Akua Gyamfi, reiterated that there were numerous government programs and policies in place to address their challenges and to comply with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
She wished participants a successful deliberation and assured them of the Government of Ghana’s continued support for the Federation.
Some participants on the other hand expressed worried about the fact that most often authorities (government representatives, and stakeholders) responsible for addressing their problems are not present at their programs.
They did not raise the concerns only for the Accra forum but across the board. They, therefore, appealed to WAFOD leadership to take that part of their concern into consideration.
The forum which saw 15 Federation representatives across the borders of the Sub – Saharan countries was to discuss problems facing the sixty (60) million Person’s living with Disabilities in West Africa and come out with recommendations that when they were forwarded to the appropriate quarters, would receive the needed attention.