Promoting Access To Inclusive Water, Sanitation, And Hygiene (Wash) Services For Students With Physical Disabilities In Ghana
Concept mapping , Physical disability , WASH , Ghana
Ensuring that everyone has access to safe water and sanitation (WASH) is a key component of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is considered a human right. However, people with physical disabilities are disproportionately affected by inequalities in access to WASH services. The overall aim of this study is to promote safe and inclusive WASH services in primary schools in Ghana. Using drawing with children with physical disabilities and an online concept mapping exercise with stakeholders, this study explored how children with physical disabilities navigate the WASH environment in primary schools and examined strategies and programs needed to promote safe and inclusive WASH services. Results revealed many WASH challenges, including physically inaccessible WASH environments, unsanitary and unmaintained WASH facilities, and lack of mobility aids and support from peers. Common health implications that children revealed included dehydration resulting from low water intake, diarrhoea, vulnerability to abuse, and various forms of psychosocial stress. Results also revealed that the types of challenges students with physical disabilities face vary according to the type and severity of their disabilities. In the concept mapping phase of the study, stakeholders identified eight themes as important for promoting safe and inclusive access to WASH for students with physical disabilities. These themes included “building special schools,” “guidance services,” “ensuring non-discrimination and fair treatment,” “additional programs for persons with physical disabilities,” “local government interventions,” “public sensitisation,” “teacher training,” and “supervision.” These findings can assist stakeholders in identifying strategies to promote safe and inclusive access to WASH for students with physical disabilities in primary schools in Ghana.