The United Nations’ International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPD) is observed every year on 3rd December. According to the UN, the observance of the day is to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities including those with mental health conditions.
The theme for this year’s International Day of People with Disabilities is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world”. The UN states that the theme demands dialogue around the Sustainable Development Goals – SDG8 and SDG 10. Key issues are around innovation for improved access to employment and reducing inequality.
In Ghana, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in 2014 estimated that 20% of Ghanaians had some form of disability. According to the Ministry of Health, this number continues to rise due to demographic trends and increase in chronic health conditions, among other causes. Ghana signed, ratified, and adopted various international agreements and implemented several policies and programmes that protect the fundamental freedom of people with disabilities including people with mental health conditions, to promote and safeguard their rights.
We applaud the government and all its agencies, the private sector, philanthropic organizations, Civil Society Organizations and International Development partners for the efforts that have been made over the years to see to the needs and well-being of People with Disabilities including people with mental health conditions. Indeed, these agencies and organizations have mobilized and continue to mobilize resources to support people with disabilities including mental health conditions.
However, we cannot overlook the fact that stigma and discrimination, negative attitudes and harmful traditional and cultural practices continue to exist because of lack of effective implementation, monitoring and enforcement of laws and policies on disability and mental health. If people with disabilities including people with mental health conditions can enjoy their rights and dignity, including their rights to employment, it is important that relevant policies and laws are enforced in a stigma-free environment at all levels of the country.
On this International Day of People with Disabilities including people with mental health conditions, Hope for Future Generations and The PsykForum celebrate people with disabilities including people with mental health conditions. A big thank you to our forty inclusion champions, who are making the difference on the Ghana Somubi Dwumadie Project funded by the UKaid. They work in the Greater Accra, Central, North East and Savannah regions, sensitizing the public on the need to put a stop to all forms of abuse, stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities including people with mental health conditions.
Hope for Future Generations and The PsyKForum, is a consortium, implementing the Social Behaviour Change (SBC) and stigma reduction for mental health and disability inclusion project funded with UKAid from the UK Government under Ghana Somubi Dwumadie (Ghana Participation Programme).