Breaking Barriers: Addressing Disability Stigma in Ghana for Inclusive Progress Research

Breaking Barriers: Addressing Disability Stigma in Ghana for Inclusive Progress Research


This research paper explores the complex interplay between disability and unemployment, focusing on their effects on middle-aged parents in Ghana. The study investigates how disability affects the lives of middle-aged parents, the socio-economic consequences of unemployment, and the stigma surrounding disability in the Ghanaian context. Utilizing data and scholarly articles from 2018 and beyond, this paper aims to shed light on the challenges faced by this demographic group, with a particular emphasis on the need to address stigma and develop supportive policies. The research draws on insights from various academic sources to provide a comprehensive understanding of the issue and suggests potential avenues for improvement.


In recent years, Ghana has experienced significant socio-economic changes, including an increase in the number of individuals with disabilities and a rise in unemployment rates. Middle-aged parents in Ghana often bear the brunt of these challenges, grappling with the effects of disability and unemployment on their lives and the lives of their families. This paper delves into the multifaceted issues of disability, unemployment, and the stigma associated with disability, emphasizing the need for comprehensive research and targeted interventions.

Disability and Its Effects on Middle-Aged Parents in Ghana

Definition and Prevalence of Disability in Ghana

In Ghana, disability is a diverse and prevalent issue, affecting individuals of all ages. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines disability as “an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions.” According to the Ghana Statistical Service, the prevalence of disability in Ghana was estimated at 3.6% in 2010, with higher rates among older age groups (Ghana Statistical Service, 2010).

 Challenges Faced by Middle-Aged Parents with Disabilities

Middle-aged parents with disabilities encounter a range of challenges that impact their daily lives, family dynamics, and overall well-being. These challenges include limited access to education and employment opportunities, inadequate healthcare services, and social exclusion.

Addison (2018) highlights that parents with disabilities face difficulties in accessing proper healthcare services due to physical barriers and discriminatory attitudes from healthcare providers.

Impact on Family Dynamics

The presence of a disability within a family can disrupt established roles and responsibilities, potentially leading to strained relationships and increased caregiving burden. This can result in stress and mental health issues for middle-aged parents. A study by Ofori-Attah et al. (2019) found that middle-aged parents with disabilities often experience emotional distress and feelings of inadequacy as they struggle to fulfill their parental roles effectively.

Unemployment and Its Effects on People in Ghana

Unemployment remains a pressing issue in Ghana, particularly among the youth and middle-aged population. The unemployment rate in Ghana was estimated at 11.9% in 2019 (Ghana Statistical Service, 2019). This figure underscores the persistent challenges of joblessness faced by a significant portion of the population, with implications for economic stability and social well-being.

Socio-Economic Consequences of Unemployment

The socio-economic consequences of unemployment in Ghana are far-reaching. High levels of unemployment can lead to financial instability, increased poverty, and reduced access to essential services such as education and healthcare (Akpalu et al., 2018). For individuals and families, unemployment often translates into diminished economic prospects, making it difficult to meet basic needs.

Effects on Middle-Aged Parents

Middle-aged parents are particularly affected by unemployment as they bear the responsibility of providing for their families. The stress and financial strain associated with joblessness can have detrimental effects on their physical and mental well-being (Agyei-Mensah & Bentum, 2020). This demographic group often faces heightened pressure to secure stable employment and ensure the well-being of both their children and aging relatives.

Addressing the Stigma Surrounding Disability

Understanding Stigma in the Ghanaian Context:
Stigma related to disability is a significant barrier to social inclusion and access to resources in Ghana. This stigma can manifest in various forms, including discrimination, stereotypes, and prejudice (Agyei-Okyere et al., 2018). In Ghana, cultural beliefs and misconceptions about disability often contribute to the perpetuation of stigmatization (Agyei-Okyere et al., 2018). These cultural attitudes can marginalize individuals with disabilities and hinder their participation in various aspects of society.

Strategies to Address Stigma

To combat stigma surrounding disability, a multifaceted approach is required. This includes raising awareness, education, and policy changes that promote inclusion and equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities (Nyame et al., 2021). Awareness campaigns can help dispel myths and misconceptions about disability and foster a more inclusive society. Community engagement initiatives can facilitate dialogue and promote understanding among community members, ultimately reducing stigmatizing behaviors and attitudes. Additionally, anti-discrimination legislation can play a crucial role in protecting the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities, ensuring they are afforded equal opportunities and protection under the law.


This research paper has provided a comprehensive overview of the impact of disability and unemployment on middle-aged parents in Ghana, while also highlighting the pressing issue of stigma surrounding disability. It is evident that middle-aged parents with disabilities face numerous challenges, including limited access to education and healthcare, strained family dynamics, and societal prejudice. Additionally, unemployment exacerbates these challenges, leading to financial instability and increased stress.

Addressing these issues requires a concerted effort from policymakers, civil society organizations, and the broader community. Policies aimed at reducing unemployment rates and providing support to middle-aged parents must be developed and implemented. Simultaneously, stigma reduction campaigns and educational initiatives should be prioritized to promote inclusivity and equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities in Ghana. By addressing these issues comprehensively, Ghana can work towards a more equitable and inclusive society for all its citizens.


Ghana Statistical Service. (2010). Ghana Living Standards Survey Round 5 (GLSS 5): Report of the Sixth Round (2010).

Addison, K. (2018). Barriers to accessing healthcare services for persons with disabilities in the Kumasi Metropolis of Ghana. Disability and Society, 33(8), 1294-1313.

Ofori-Attah, A. L., et al. (2019). Parenting with disability in Kumasi, Ghana: Experiences, challenges, and aspirations. Disability and Rehabilitation, 41(24), 2920-2930.

Ghana Statistical Service. (2019). Labour Force Report. 

Akpalu, G. B., et al. (2018). Unemployment and household welfare in Ghana. Journal of African Development, 20(2), 1-20.

Agyei-Mensah, S., & Bentum, E. (2020). Unemployment and psychological distress among middle-aged parents in Ghana. Journal of African Studies and Development, 12(4), 47-61.

Agyei-Okyere, E., et al. (2018). Exploring stigma and discrimination in Ghana: A mixed-methods study of people with disabilities’ perceptions and experiences. Disability and Rehabilitation, 40(21), 2499-2510.

Nyame, P. K., et al. (2021). Breaking barriers: Strategies for reducing disability-related stigma in Ghana. Disability and Health Journal, 14(3), 100995.


Q1: What is the significance of addressing disability stigma in Ghana?

A1: Addressing disability stigma in Ghana is crucial for fostering a more inclusive society, ensuring equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities, and promoting their well-being.

Q2: How does cultural beliefs contribute to disability stigma in Ghana?

A2: Cultural beliefs can contribute to disability stigma by perpetuating myths and misconceptions about disabilities, leading to the marginalization of individuals with disabilities.

Q3: What strategies can be employed to combat disability stigma in Ghana?

A3: Strategies to combat disability stigma include awareness campaigns, community engagement, anti-discrimination legislation, and education to dispel myths and promote understanding.

Q4: Why is community engagement important in reducing disability stigma?

A4: Community engagement is important as it facilitates dialogue, raises awareness, and fosters a supportive environment that reduces stigmatizing behaviors and attitudes towards individuals with disabilities.

Q5: How can policy changes contribute to addressing disability stigma?

A5: Policy changes can protect the rights of individuals with disabilities, ensuring they have equal access to opportunities and protection under the law, which helps combat stigma and discrimination.