Access to healthcare services by the mobility impaired: Structural obstacles and experiences in Tamale, Northern Ghana
Improved health promotes socio-economic mobility, and in turn, attenuates predispositions to illnesses that culminate in impairments. This research investigated access to health facilities by persons with mobility impairments through physical audits using universal design principles as indicators. Subsequently, a survey and interviews were conducted with persons with mobility impairments to explore their spatial experiences with respect to transportation, movements, access and utilization. The results suggest that, despite the passage of the Disability Act (715) nearly 15 years ago, the mobility impaired still encounter multiple physical and psychological barriers which impede access and utilization of health facilities with wide-ranging implications. These outcomes, reflect not only the lack of funding for retrofitting, but largely ingrained societal perceptions about disability which invariably feed into policy in the production of public spaces. The research calls for a deeper introspection through disability awareness and educational campaigns, an integrated approach to health policy and spatial planning, a review of the Disability Act to address its weaknesses and the passage of subsidiary legislations to spell out the rights, obligations and liabilities of health providers and built environment professionals.
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