Disabilities debate in Africa

Healthcare providers, people with disabilities and researchers gathered at the 5th AfriNEAD and 7th College of Health Science Scientific Conference, which was held at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Technology in Ghana on August 7 to 9, 2017 to discuss disability and inclusivity in Africa.

A variety of topics were discussed, such as the inclusion of children with disabilities in society from an early age, accessible education on all levels and the economic empowerment of people with disabilities.

According to the conference report by AfriNEAD, one presentation was given on economic empowerment from the perspective of people with physical disabilities and their employers in both the formal and informal sector. Following the presentation, the organisations recommended economic empowerment of people with disabilities as a key approach to reducing unemployment and poverty.

Many people with disabilities in Africa face unemployment, poverty, stereotyping and discrimination on a daily basis. The organisations called on policy makers to take deliberate, systematic measures to encourage employment.

During a debate on assistive technology, delegates were recommended to reduce the high cost of imported assistive devices and to link assistive technology users with the correct suppliers. The United States Assistive Technology Act programmes were used as examples of how legislation has the potential to increase access to assistive technology.

Preventing health conditions such as strokes and malnutrition were discussed as measures to prevent disabilities. Discussions also took place about the need for databases of assistive technology suppliers and support networks to increase general awareness of technology among all stakeholders in the private and public disability sector of Africa.

To learn more about the topics discussed at the conference, you can access the full conference report here.

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