Groups advocate inclusion of persons with disabilities at all levels

Some groups have advocated for an increase in the inclusion of Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs) at all levels in the society.

They made this call at the commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) on Tuesday at the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Lagos.

NAN reports that December 3 of every year is declared International Day of PWDs by the UN General Assembly following Resolution 43/3 of Oct. 14, 1992.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme for this year’s celebration is “Promoting the Participation of PWDs and Their Leadership: Taking Action on the 2030 Development Agenda”.

Olaide Akanni, Executive Director, Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS), Nigeria, said it was sad that PWDs are often excluded from the mainstream of society and denied their basic human rights.

“Research conducted by the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities in 2016 has shown that the marginalisation and exclusion of PWDS in Nigeria from basic services is a consequence of three factors.”

She listed the three factors as low awareness, poor capacity and inadequacy or absence of appropriate legal frameworks.

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She said the provision of sign language interpreters in the healthcare system and added that clear plans must be put in place to build the capacity of healthcare workers to make them disability sensitive.

“We hope that deliberate steps will be taken by the government at all levels and by key stakeholders to redress the current situation,” she said.

Similarly, Lukmon Agbabiaka, the Chairman of Lagos State Association of the Deaf, appealed to citizens to take the issue of inclusion serious.

“Many of us face challenges in communicating with our doctors.

“We face challenges when we find ourselves in police stations too.

“We should create awareness on the importance of accessibility for people living with disabilities by providing interpreters in hospitals and police stations,” Agbabiaka said.

Nonye Nwoeke, a member of the Cerebral Palsy Centre in Lagos, said that the IDPLWD as an agenda was a commitment to ensuring that no one was left behind.

“This day is important to us as an organisation to ensure that all children have access to quality care notwithstanding their circumstance.

“We understand that everyone matters and it’s up to us to make sure that PWDs are included in all sectors of the society,” he said.

Funmi Ogunro, a member of Friends of the Deaf Foundation (FDF), said that it was the responsibility of each member of the society to think inclusion for PWDs.

“When making decisions, we need to think of the deaf, the blind and other categories of people living with disabilities.

“This is the least we can do to give them a sense of belonging in the society.”

She added that information should be made explicit for people in this category in order to celebrate their unique differences.

NAN also reports that the theme focuses on the empowerment of people with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledges to leave no one behind. (NAN)

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