The number of people with physical disability in Ghana numbers approximately four million, out of the 25 million people sampled in the 2010 Population and Housing Census.
This means that one out of every five Ghanaians possesses some kind of physical disability, and rLG Communications, an ICT and electronics company, has rolled out a programme to absolve some of them into its mainstream programmes of providing a means of livelihood.
Even though official figures have not been released yet, Enoch Teye Mensah, former Minister of Employment and Social Welfare and currently the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, is certain that people with one form of disability or the other, constitute about 20 percent of the entire Ghanaian population.
This figure was corroborated by Vice President John Mahama on Monday when he launched rLG Communication’s ICT Training Centre for people with disability, at the popular Accra Rehabilitation Centre.
DAILY GUIDE checks at the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) did not yield an official confirmation, but coming from the former minister and the Vice President, the figure cannot be discounted.
Even though there has not been an official confirmation, a trend analysis of previous such statistics on physical disability in the country makes the figure hinted by the minister and the Vice President not far-fetched.
In fact, in 1990, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated the disability rate of Ghana to be between 7 and 10 percent, which equates to approximately 1.55-2.2 million people in the country.
Earlier surveys of individual districts by the Ghana Human Development Scale (GHDS) in 1993 and the Norwegian Association of the Disabled (NAD) in 1998 and 1999 indicated that this rate is equal among men and women.
In Ghana, the disabled are the most discriminated against and marginalised segment of society. Access to jobs by physically disabled people in Ghana is an extremely difficult task, even though several researches have proven that physically disabled people are not necessarily unproductive. “Disability is not inability. The fact that someone is disabled does not mean they are not able,” stated the Vice President at the launch of the rLG ICT Training Centre.
According to Vice President Mahama, discrimination against physically challenged people should not be condoned. “It is unacceptable, illegal and criminal to discriminate against disabled people.”
On Monday, a GH¢20 million training facility co-financed by rLG and the Government of Ghana was launched to train several thousands of disabled people on ICT know-how. For starters, over 5000 physically challenged people would be trained at the centre on computer engineering, mobile phone refurbishment and repairs and other ICT skills.
According to Roland Agambire, Managing Director of rLG, 20,000 people would be trained in the medium term.
This initiative falls within rLG‘s grand plan to create over one million jobs in the ICT industry.
According to Mr. Agambire, many of these new ICT jobs would be created for people with physical challenges.