The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection was instrumental in distributing food items to vulnerable groups in the country, like the poor and needy, during the partial lockdown that was in place at the onset of coronavirus.
However, the Ghana Blind Union (GBU) has bemoaned being left out of the coronavirus intervention goodies and packages distributed by government. Executive Director-GBU, Dr. Peter Obeng-Asamoa, stated that most of its members rely on people’s support to move around because they cannot see; and during the COVID-19 lockdown they were stuck indoors as no one was available to assist them.
Hence, a good number of them missed out on the freebies – with many not even aware that government was distributing items for their relief. This is indeed quite unfortunate, because some form of targetted support should have been extended to the blind since they are one of the most vulnerable groups in any society.
Obeng-Asamoa observed that even with lifting of the partial lockdown his members continue to suffer indignities, since to move around they need the assistance of someone – which invariably means they have to purchase an additional facemask to ensure the guide also adheres to the health protocols mandated by the state.
While many are not gainfully employed, raising extra money to fulfil such a measure might prove beyond their means; that is why the plight of the blind during such a pandemic has to be brought to the fore.
He emphasised that persons with blindness urgently require education and sensitisation materials to be able to keep up-to-date with issues happening around the corona pandemic, since the models of learning for the blind are far different from those for the ordinary person.
In times like these, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection should of necessity liaise with the GBU to get an updated database of people living with such disabilities. Hearing their plight in these extraordinary times fills one heart with compassion, but we believe going forward we must ensure persons with such disabilities are also catered to.
They can even collaborate with faith-based institutions to extend the assistance so dearly needed if the ministry is overwhelmed by the sheer number of vulnerable groups. Better targeting would have solved the problem and alleviated the plight of the blind under such dire circumstances.