According to the world health organization, disability is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions.
Disability is thus not just a health problem. It is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and the features of the society in which he or she lives.
Statistically, over one billion people globally experience disability. They are two times more likely to find health care providers’ skills and facilities inadequate, three times more likely to be denied health care and four times more likely to be treated badly in the health care system.
Also, half of the people with disabilities cannot afford health care and are fifty percent more likely to suffer catastrophic health expenditure.
Ghana has put some measures in place to support a person’s living with a disability, inclusive is the two-year project between the year 2016-2018 which was designed to support and build the capacity of disabled persons in Ghana. The government also put in measures in 2018 to promote the rights of disabled persons in the country in its 2018 economic policy becoming the 119th country in the world to ratify the disability rights.
But Ghana still has a higher rate of stigmatization against disabled persons.
In recent times Ghana has seen many disastrous happenings that left the country devastated. An example is the June 3rd disaster. Aside from that is the continuous grievous and fatal accidents which leave both young and old disabled.
Appalling is when the effect after each disaster lingers on for a while and becomes a joke to people. The mentality of most people tuned to ridiculing disability without regard to their traumas and in many cases not a show of sympathy is unfortunate. This is no exception to the rich or poor.
With an almost barbaric mentality, the Ghanaian society has evolved into a norm where the mockery of disability is recited by comedians, expressed in movies with a strong emphasis on ridiculing the individual in question with acting phases like limping, stammering, autism, epilepsy amongst others.
These and many more are also expressed by the media and politicians in an- empathetic manner which causes people to laugh ignorantly without questions.
We hear of them voicing out their opinions in many ways in cases such as when a Kaneshie based physically challenged musician Pazzo Joe came out to talk about feeling dejected when such activities are done against their predicament.
Disability of persons should not cut out their potentials; neither should it be used in banter when the reality of living disabled is difficult.
Mocking disability is a flippant mentality that has to change. The solution is to picture them in good light if we are going to act their plight out. The mockery by the media, moviemakers, politicians, and celebrities who are constantly in limelight with much influence must be challenged and stopped. It is a trivial mocking disability and trying to fix problems faced by people with disabilities. There is also the need to educate the public on disability. This would help shape people’s views on disability.
People living with a disability have so much to contribute to when it comes to national development and as such should be given the maximum respect and not discriminated against nor mocked. Ghana can do more if disabled persons are seen as everyday normal persons and included more in society.
Gifty Amoateng –African Post Magazine