National Disabled Assessment Centre Abandoned

The only National Assessment and Resource Centre for Children with Disabilities and Special Educational Needs have been left to rot due to lack of funds. The dilapidated wooden structure situated at Achimota, a suburb of Accra, leaks badly such that when it rains during working hours the staff have to vacate the premises, Madam Grace Preko, Deputy Head of the Centre, told the GNA. She said what had worsen the situation at the centre was a tree that fell on top of the structure on June 14, last year, which had resulted in severe leakages and gradually spoiling the electric gadgets used by the centre to diagnose children with special needs. It was established to provide avenues for early identification and detection of early childhood disabilities and special educational needs. Madam Preko who is visually impaired said that about three years ago the centre launched an appeal for funds and government’s assistance to rehabilitate it. Although government responded positively, management was not aware when work would begin. “We are now aware that government has approved some funds for the contract to be put on tender, but we are not sure about what is happening,” she said. She said disability was a multi-disciplinary issue that needed to be tackled by all sectors of the society. Madam Preko called for attitudinal change towards people with disabilities, to make it possible for the vulnerable in society to compete favourably with their counterparts who are not disabled. “Accepting persons with disability will make the world a better place,” she said. Mr. George Pat Tackie, Head of the Centre reiterated the need for government to pay attention to their plight. He said government promised to assist the centre with funds from the Ghana Educational Trust Fund (GETFund) to construct new structures. “We hear the project will be given to a new contractor to start, but we really do not know what is happening ,” he said desperately. Mr. Tackie said the state of the centre did not attract clients, some people do not even know of such an establishment, but there were some expensive items in the office that could be destroyed by the rains. “We need security,” he stressed, this place was not suitable as an office. Commenting on society’s attitude towards the disabled, he said most people were ignorant about people with disabilities and urged them to disabuse their minds of superstitions. Mr. Tackie said science had proven that disabilities were a result of chromosomal and genetic abnormalities or incidence that occurred during or after birth, and urged people to accept those with disabilities since they had a lot to offer society. He said it was important that the Ghana Education Service begun an extensive educational campaign on disabilities to enable people in the society accept them. Nana Yaa Agyeman, Founder of ShareCare Foundation, a civil society organization and a support group for people with neuro-immunological diseases in Ghana, appealed to society to pay attention to people with disabilities. She said the only way Ghana could catch up with development was to assist the vulnerable in society. Nana Agyeman therefore urged government to develop structures that supported people with disabilities and the vulnerable in society.