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‘Babies with deformities are not cursed, they must be cherished’

Panellists at a stakeholders’ forum for enhanced advocacy for children with visual impairments have called on parents not to abandon these children but continually show them love, care and support to ensure their wellbeing.

They said oftentimes, people with special needs suffered stigmatisation by both families and society, a situation that affected the self-worth of the victims, leading to mental disorders.

Among others, the child rights activists recounted the recent baby abandonment at Kasoa-Ofaakor in the Awutu Senya East Municipality of the Central Region, where a day-old ‘special baby’ was abandoned in the bush.

Though Ghana has made modest gains in ensuring the rights of children since the ratification of the UN Treaty over three decades ago, they said some cultural practices were discriminatory, since they inhibit children’s rights.

Instead of putting families under pressure through stigmatisation, society should encourage them to care for their children with special needs because they were also
gifts from God, who did not choose that path.

Representing the Cape Coast Local Council of Churches, Reverend Samuel Kwame Antwi, the Coordinator, asked believers to care for those in need and support people in inconvenient situations to make life worthwhile.

‘No person with a disability is worthless, they all can function according to their ability and so instead of stigmatising and abandoning them, they should be supported and encouraged to realise their potential.’

‘It makes the burden and frustration of not being fully whole lighter.’

Mr Okine Mustapha Aryee, the Cape Coast Metro Social Welfare Director, encouraged people with disability to apply for free National Health Insurance registration to access quality health care services.

The Department was also working to develop and coordinate community-based rehabilitation programmes for people with disability (PWDs), and vulnerable and excluded groups to promote access to social welfare services.

Mr Fred Mac-Ocloo, Principal Civic Education Officer wi
th the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), urged the assemblies to prioritise data collection of PWDs to help address their concerns.

Whilst calling for support to enhance their civic outreach activities in schools, communities, and groups, he advised parents not to abuse the rights of children with disability.

Hajia Salamatu Gausu, the Metro Special Education Coordinator, commended the Government for its commitment to providing quality and inclusive education to children despite the economic challenges.

She urged stakeholders (state and non-state actors) to see the implementation of inclusive education as a collective responsibility to ensure its sustainability.

‘This will help provide quality education fairly and equitably to all as a right.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

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