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Safeguard The Sexual And Reproductive Needs of PWDs
 
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06-Dec-2017  
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Dr Eugene Darteh (left) and Dr Joshua Makubu (right)
 
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How can a deaf and dumb person tell a doctor that he has for instance Gonorrhea or how can a doctor explain reproductive health matters to a deaf and dumb person?

Communication has been identified as one of the barriers to fulfilling the Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) need of Persons With Disability (PWDs).

In view of this, Dr Ernest Darteh of the population department of the University of Cape Coast has urged the Ministry of Health to train persons in sign languages (ASL interpreters) who will be distributed to various health centers to facilitate doctor patient communication as far as PWDs are concerned.

Speaking at the presentation of a stakeholders’ report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Ghana, Dr Darteh bemoaned that not much work has been put into educating the public on the SRH needs of persons with disabilities and urged that government will prioritise issues concerning PWDs.

The report which was submitted by Planned Parenthood association of Ghana (PPAG), Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations, Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC), Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR), Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health (GCNH), African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) and Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), identified ten barriers to the fulfillment of the SRH need of PWDs which includes: communication, psychological, social, attitudes by health, professionals, literacy among deaf people, privacy and confidentiality offered at SRH centers, poor interpretation skills of sign language interpreters and physical barriers.

The report also indicated that although there seem to be a strong commitment in ensuring that the rights of PWDs are respected and protected, there is little done in terms of real action that has been implemented to address them especially in the area of SRH and rights in the country.

It therefore recommended that the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection (MoG&SP) should work with the Attorney Generals Department to put together the necessary Legislative Instruments (LIs) needed for the smooth implementation of the Disability Act and the UN Convention on people with Disability. Apart from, it is important for MoG&SP to work together with civil society groups such as Ghana Federation for Disability (GFD) to intensify efforts aimed at educating the public on the laws, regulations and Acts concerning PWDs. 

The review also urged the Ghana Statistical Service to conduct a nationally representative survey on sexual and reproductive health and rights of PWDs in Ghana to provide a holistic appreciation of the SRH & R needs, concerns and aspirations of PWDs as part of efforts aimed at implementing programmes that would adequately cater for their needs.

Dr Joshua Makubu, Advocacy Officer of the Ghana Federation for Disability (GFD), speaking at the same function condemned the high level of discrimination against PWDs in the country. He said even though there are conventions and Acts in their favour, there is no concrete action to implement them.

He added that people also don’t take the SRH needs of PWDs seriously because they feel “we don’t have feelings”.

“The fact that we have a disability in one form or the other does not mean we are not sexually active…” he opined.
 
 
 
Source: Rebecca Addo Tetteh/Peacefmonline.com
 
 
 
 
 
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