International Day of Persons with Disabilities: FMC Lokoja Advocates Empowerment for Disabled

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A call has been made to government at all levels, organizations and relevant stakeholders to make life meaningful for the people with disabilities to promote all inclusive society.

This was part of the message to mark this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Head of Physiotherapy Department, Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Lokoja, Mrs Tayo Eniolorunda who gave the admonition in Lokoja on Thursday noted that there should be provision for physical challenged person to access public buildings like banks, hospitals, offices and others with convenience.

Mrs Eniolorunda said disability usually could arise from post-polio syndrome, stroke, accident cases (spinal cord damage or trauma) and others adding that early referral and life style modification which includes diet, engaging in exercise and monitoring sugar levels can reduce high rate of disability in the society.

“What we are advocating for the people with disabilities is accessibility to public buildings which start from the car parks and continues to the entrances, because the rate of people living with disabilities is very high especially in this area down the North,” begins Mrs Eniolorunda.

“Parking spaces should be designated for the people with disabilities and patients who need to park close to clinics, we shall bear in mind that persons with disabilities from a high percentage of physiotherapy clientele, it behoves on us to advocate for their inclusiveness, integration and reintegration into the larger society especially in the area of accessibility to public facilities, issues of stigmatization and discrimination still exists within our immediate environment and these should be discouraged, “ she said.

Mr Olamide Joseph who is a Physical Therapist from the FMC, Lokoja also advised the government and organizations to focus more on road users’ education to curb the menace of accidents which result to people living with disabilities just as asked the road users to avoid recklessness.

“While I will advise the drivers and other road users to desist from reckless driving, it is good to also tell the government to rehabilitate our roads, the roads need to be in better condition to reduce accidents which can make the victims to be disabled, and we also need continuous education for road users. I will also like to tell those living with disabilities to participate in social activities,” Mr Joseph said.

It is estimated that about one billion people living with disabilities worldwide (22 million in Nigeria) and they face barriers to inclusion in many key aspects of society. As a result, people with disabilities do not enjoy access tp society on an equal basis with others, which includes areas of transportation, employment and education as well as social and political participation.

The right to participate in public life is essential to create stable democracies and reduce inequalities on society. Persons with disabilities must be able to fulfil their role in society and participate on an equal basis with others. It is important to focus on the ability and not disability of an individual.

The International Day for Persons with Disabilities in celebrated on every 3rd of December. This year’s theme is “Inclusion Matters: Access and Empowerment for People of all Abilities”

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