Ms Deborah Mangortey, a mother of a child with Down Syndrome, has urged the government to develop a healthcare policy, which would enable children with complex health needs to access free care in their first five years.
This would also ensure that they undergo the necessary assessments, therapy and intervention services that would improve the quality of their lives.
Ms Mangortey explained: “Parents of children with complex health needs and disabilities are already burdened by the huge financial commitments that come along with nurturing them; the system also puts stumbling blocks in the way of their parents”.
She was addressing the Special Needs Parenting Summit, which brought together parents of children with Special Needs to dialogue on how they could make input into national policies related to the wellbeing and healthy development of their children.
Ms Mangortey also advised parents to avail themselves for research purposes and share their stories publicly because that would go a long way to make systemic changes.
“Be interested in research and data collection, share your stories and make yourselves visible,” she emphasized, saying that, disability was part of life, therefore, it was important for the parents to make themselves visible.
Mrs Serwaa Quaynor, the mother of a man with Autism; Mrs Mary Kuffuor, the mother of a teenager with autism, Mrs Justina Yiadom Boakye, the mother of a child with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Mrs Lydia Bedwei, the mother of a woman with cerebral palsy and Madam Agnes Teiko Nyemi-Tei, the mother of a girl with Down Syndrome, shared their success stories and called for unity and collaboration among parents to enable them to make the requisite impacts on policy decisions.
Madam Alice Appiah, Chairperson of the Gender Committee of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations, (GFD) the guest Speaker, encouraged the mothers saying: “Some problems create opportunities for us”.She explained the role the GFD to them.
Mrs Hannah Awadzi, Founder and Executive Director of the Special Mothers Project, said the communiqué from the Summit would be sent to the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies for action to be taken.
The Special Mothers Project provides an online platform for parents of children with Special Needs to share ideas and experiences, network and engage in peer counselling