Barriers and facilitators to healthcare access for people with intellectual disability (PWIDS) in the Ashanti region of Ghana

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People with intellectual disabilities are at higher risk of developing preventable diseases due to challenges they encounter in accessing healthcare. Such challenges have led to shorter life expectancy than the general public. The aim of this study was to assess the barriers and facilitators that influence access to healthcare services for People with Intellectual Disability (PWIDs) in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. This study was qualitative and used purposive sampling to select participants from two Intellectually Disabled Schools namely, Garden City and Life Community and Vocational School in the Asokore Mampong and Oforikrom Districts respectively. Data was collected by means of semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and unstructured observation. Findings showed that specific health needs of PWIDs included chest infections, common cold, sensory challenges and stomach infections among others. Challenges they encountered in accessing health included, among others, high cost of medication and the inability of healthcare providers to communicate effectively with PWIDs. It however emerged that the introduction of sign language in various health training institutions has contributed to positively shaping the attitude of some healthcare providers towards issues of disability and has served as a major factor that has enhanced access to health for PWIDs. The study recommends the need for some of the medications prescribed for PWIDS to be covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme. It also recommends continuous training of healthcare providers about issues of disability, especially those with2 intellectual disability as this has the potential to promote the socio-environmental understanding of disability and health care.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Health Promotion and Disability Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Philosophy (MPHIL) in Disability, Rehabilitation and Development.
Barriers, Facilitators, Healthcare access, Intellectual disability, Ashanti Region, Ghana