Healthcare Needs of Persons with Developmental Disabilities
PWDDs have specific health needs that are different from the basic health care needs of the average person. These may include a need for physical therapy, corrective surgery, plastic surgery, adaptive devices and support services. PWDDs also need some assistive gadgets such as braces and wheelchairs, hearing aids and optical services. Persons with Developmental Disabilities also have difficulty accessing speech therapy services. These specialized medical services are limited and very expensive in Ghana. Assessment centers for PWDDs are rare.
In addition, PWDDs also face challenges in accessing health facilities. Hospitals are not disability friendly. Also, many persons with developmental disabilities find it difficult climbing onto medical examination tables because they are too high. Those with hearing and speech impairments may not receive good medical attention due to difficulty communicating with their doctors. Medical and health professionals have no training to handle persons with developmental disabilities.
Kekeli provides some support for the medical needs of children with disabilities, but what we can do is limited by the lack of services and medical providers.
Therefore, Kekeli Ghana is advocating for
• early screening and early identification and assessment services to determine individualized support programs;
• specialized and community-based rehabilitation and psychosocial support services across districts and regions in Ghana;
• assistive device and technology support services;
• peer and family counseling and empowerment support services;
• provision for personal assistants for PWWDs.