The World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed concern about the soaring numbers of people with various forms of disability, currently estimated at about one billion, representing 15 per cent of the global population.
Dr Daniel Kertez, Country Representative of the WHO, said this is due to the high rate of heart-related diseases, environmental factors, road accidents and other preventable disasters.
He was addressing the opening session of the second national disability conference of the Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi in the Ashanti region.
“Breaking the barriers for the inclusion of persons with disability in national development”, was the theme for the event.
Dr Kertez noted that those living with disabilities have been going through significant difficulties in their daily lives as a result of unhealthy policies and other unfavourable conditions that tend to marginalise them.
He said they are nearly three times more likely to report that they are being denied health care and four times more likely to report that they are receiving bad treatment.
This and other discriminatory practices, Dr Kertez said, have resulted in a situation where people with disability have poorer health, lower educational achievements, fewer economic opportunities and higher rates of poverty than those without disabilities.
He said there is the need to give priority to issues bothering on disability through the adoption of more disability-friendly policies and programmes to better their lives.
Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, Minister for Employment and Social Welfare, in a speech read for him, re-affirmed government’s resolve to work harder to improve the living conditions of the physically challenged.
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