An NGO, Voice of Disability Initiative (VDI) has called on stakeholders to push for the recognition and realisation of sexual and reproductive healthcare rights of women and girls with disabilities.
The Executive Director of the NGO, Ms Catherine Edeh, made the call at a one-day workshop for law enforcement agencies and stakeholders.
The News Agency of Nigera (NAN)reports that the workshop that focused on the protection of women and girls with disabilities from violence, held on Wednesday in Keffi, Keffi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
Edeh said that the challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities in accessing healthcare facilities in the state cannot be mitigated without the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders.
This, she said’, was by coming together to lend their support and voices by prioritising the healthcare needs of women and girls with disabilities.
Participants at the workshop
She expressed hope that the workshop would help to reduce the challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities in the state in accessing healthcare facilities.
Edeh said evidence gathered by the NGO revealed that about 80 per cent of them complained of attitudinal and discriminatory practices meted to them by healthcare providers.
She said: “It is even worse to those accessing public health facilities. Most of them made the same compliants.
“They said that when they experienced such attitudes and discrimination, they tended to seek for alternative healthcare by going to pharmacy ships or using traditional methods, which is most times endanger their lives.
” It is on this premise, that we are all here today to further understand the challenges faced by this vulnerable population.
“We want to have an informed judgement or opinion on how to deal with the issues that will arise as a result of their rights violations as we carry out our daily work.”
Edeh, however, commended Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State for his efforts in ensuring the domestication of the Disability Act in the state.
She added that doing so would facilitate the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.
On his part, Dr Jonathan Isa, a Consultant Gynecologist with the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, said protection of the health rights of women and girls with disabilities against sexual related violence was very necessary.
Isa said: “It is important that these issues are being raised and discussed so that deliberate policies and sensitisation of both health workers and non health personnel take steps to protect to curb the menace.
” We must begin to take into cognisance what we can do in order to protect this category of citizens.
“At the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, for instance, deliberate efforts are being made to ensure that when persons with disabilities come to access healthcare services, they do so without any hitches.” (NAN)