The Accra Daily Mail, September 24, 2008
Rt. Hon. Keith Hill, Labour MP for Streatham, who is currently on a volunteer mission to Ghana, yesterday visited the offices of Sharecare Ghana, a support group and association of people in Ghana with autoimmune conditions and diseases of the central nervous system.
The visit was part of his familiarization tour to the various groups that constitute the Ghana Federation of the Disabled, where Mr. Hill is volunteering for two weeks.
He was received warmly by Nana Yaa Agyeman, coordinator of Sharecare Ghana, Mr. Egbert Faibille, a legal practitioner and Board Secretary of Sharecare and Mrs. Thiawa Opon, member of Sharecare Ghana.
Mr. Hill, who has been MP for 16 years, said he would be passing on his experience and skills in advocacy and lobbying for the effective implementation of the Ghana Disability Act 2006.
Ghana’s Parliament passed the Disability Bill into law in June 2006. The purpose of the Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715) is to fight and protect the rights of persons living with disabilities. But two years after its passage, the Council that will oversee it is yet to be inaugurated. During the discussions it was noted that Parliament House where the law was passed is itself still not accessible to people with disabilities.
“Having a Disability Act in place is a right achievement, but the task now is to see to its effective implementation,” Mr. Hill said.
Mr. Egbert Faibille, who briefed Mr. Hill on the activities of Sharecare Ghana, said it is quite challenging starting an organization like Sharecare in Ghana, citing financial constraints. “We are reaching out to organizations here to come to our aid especially in the areas of finance and research,” he said.
Mr. Faibille observed that autoimmune diseases are not covered under the national health insurance policy, and said, “Sharecare Ghana is pushing for government to rectify this”.
He expressed the hope that Mr. Hill’s visit would make a positive impact on the lives of people with disabilities, particularly those suffering from autoimmune conditions.
“We are happy to have a person of your calibre here with us and we hope your presence would be of great benefit to us even if not immediate but in the foreseeable future,” Mr. Faibille said.
Mr. Hill was accompanied by Rita Kyeremaa Kusi, Executive Director of GFD and Sonia Kwami, Disability Programme Manager of Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).