Investigators from the Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation with support from the Office of Grants and Research has organised a one-day workshop on intellectual disability under the theme ‘Intellectual Disability, Healthcare and Technology’. Participants of the workshop were healthcare professionals, social workers, representatives of People with Disabilities (PWD’s), stakeholders and the academia.
Presenting an overview of the workshop, Dr. Kwadwo Ofori-Dua, the principal investigator, said Ghana’s Disability Act and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 3 seek to promote quality healthcare for all. However, it is unfortunate that in most developing countries including Ghana, most PWD’s especially People with Intellectually Disabilities (PWID’s) are not able to access health facilities due to communication barriers.
In addition, PWD’s faced infrastructural barriers and so there is the need for all stakeholders especially the disabled, health practitioners and academia to come up with an intervention to aid communication between the two.
Dr. John Boulard Forkuo, a researcher, explained that the workshop is an aftermath of a preliminary research conducted by his team and two Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) students, Ms. Dorcas Addo and Mr. Douglas Odongo. His team together with the students conducted studies on ‘Improving Health Care Access, Using Assistive Tools for PWID’s’ and ‘Barriers and Facilities to Healthcare Access of PWID’s. From the findings, PWD’s were proven to have challenges with access to health facilities, special needs and low life expectancy. Despite provisions made to ensure access to effective healthcare, PWD’s in Ghana also faced emotional abuse due to the use of dehumanising words on them and social exclusion in relation to access to education and employment.
Dr. Forkuo said, with the University’s partnerships with industry in research, there was the need to bring all stakeholders, who have direct contact with the PWID’s together to meet the objectives and influence policy formulations.