By, Mnena Iyorkgh
The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA has provided a Disability-enabled Primary Healthcare Centre to the disabled persons in Karon Magiji, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT Abuja.
The center is aimed at addressing the health challenges and needs of the people living with disability in that community.
This gesture is part of the commemoration of the 2022 International Day of People Living with Disabilities.
Speaking at the launch and handing over ceremony, the UNFPA Deputy Country Representative, Ms. Erika Goldson, said that about 1 billion out of the 8 billion people living in the world have disabilities, with Nigeria having 27 million people with some kind of disability, the number of people with disabilities keep increasing, which calls for urgent attention.
She therefore reiterates UNFPA commitments to building a Nigeria that is inclusive and accessible to everyone without leaving no one behind.
“We at UNFPA are working to lead by example. We want to be an enabler of choice for persons with disabilities, we also are working together with the Government of Nigeria and FCT towards ensuring that the vision and aspirations of persons with disabilities are included and accounted for in a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable Nigeria.
“Therefore, when we received the request to make this health facility disability enabled, we immediately pledged our support through active consultation with persons with disabilities and their representative organization Advocacy for Women with Disability Initiative (AWWDI). UNFPA together with all stakeholders will continue to pay urgent attention towards educating and sensitising people to seek medical services from Government-approved Hospitals rather than patronize quacks and unskilled health practitioners,” Ms. Goldson said.
She stressed that, inaccessible health facilities are more difficult for persons with disabilities.
Also noting that they face inequalities from unfair conditions including stigma, discrimination, poverty, exclusion from all social aspect of life and barriers faced in the health system itself.
“Nigeria has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality and child morbidity in the world and this is one of the causes that people at the grassroots do not utilise medical facilities even when available.
“As we move forward, we need to strengthen development policies and practice to ensure that accessibility is a part of inclusive and sustainable development. We also need to account for persons with “invisible” disabilities whose needs and voice are often left unconsidered and unheard. Today, on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and in the spirit of 16 Days of Activism. At UNFPA, we stand behind all persons with disability to ensure we provide them with access, empower women and young persons with disabilities. This is just one of many steps towards the world we want, one that works for all 8 billion of us. That is not possible if the over 1 billion persons with disabilities are left behind.
“On this day, let us recommit to a Nigeria where everyone is included and has an equal opportunity to thrive. Let us do everything possible to uphold and respect the rights, choices and dignity of all,”. she said.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, NHRC Mr. Tony Ojukwu, commended UNFPA for the good gesture of making healthcare accessible to persons with disability.
According to him, the facility will not only restore the confidence of persons with disability but give them access to quality healthcare.
“UNFPA did not only make it disability enabled through building ramps, but we also; renovated the facility, created a separate room for the laboratory and built this crowd over flow area that we are comfortably seated in. The people of Karon Magiji, we also trained the staff in this centre to be able to provide friendly and inclusive services for all persons with disability. We are also donating consumables to ensure the smooth running of the facility,” Ojukwu said.
Responding to the good gesture, Emir of Disability Colony, Karon Magiji , Mohammed Katsina, appreciated UNFPA for giving them sense of belonging in terms of accessible healthcare.
He stated that the facility was stepping stone in development of the neighbouring communities.
The Deputy Director, International Cooperation, FCTA Mrs. Celina Oluwafemi, thank UNFPA for living no stone unturned to ensure that people living with disabilities live a healthy life by providing accessible healthcare facility to the community.
She urged the people to take good care of the facility.
UN Population Fund UNFPA also donated consumables to ensure the smooth running of the facility.