Persons living with disabilities in Ekiti State have called on the state government to step up efforts to enable them to have access to health care at a subsidized rate.
The Secretary-general of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities in Ekiti State, Mr. Funso Olajide, who lamented unacceptable treatments PWDS still contended with at medical facilities in the state, said the issue of disability should move from charity model to human rights model.
Olajide, who spoke in Ado Ekiti during a stakeholders’ forum tagged, ‘Promoting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of PWDS in Nigeria’, organized by the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, said medical care should be subsidized for PWDS.
The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Senior Programmes Officer, Mr. Kola Ogunbiyi, said the follow-up research conducted in the state on the level of awareness on the rights of PWDS in Ekiti State and their accessibility to health care showed was a little improvement from what it was in 2018.
“There is the need to make provisions for ramps in hospitals because accessibility is beyond going to the hospital, a doctor attends to you or you can see the nurse – are you able to access the hospital at all? We want to see that ramps are built in major hospitals. We want to see that sign language interpreters are engaged or employed at the major hospitals.
“Technology has made it so easy now that even if they are thinking it will be expensive to have so many people employed as sign language interpreters, they can buy apps that would make a medical doctor communicate easily with hearing-impaired persons without any difficulty,” Ogunbiyi said.
He added that Ekiti State could take the lead in the health sector as regards PWDS, saying the Centre was willing to engage the state government to make sign interpreter device available and accessible to PWDs.
The Executive Secretary, Office of Disability Affairs, Dr. Ayodele Ibikunle, assured the PWDs of better times ahead, saying the governor has approved a review of the discrimination against PWDS (Prohibition) Act 2018 by the state house of Assembly for domestication.
Also, the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua, said that beyond the legislation, he would collaborate with the Commissioner for health, Dr. Mojisola Yaya-kolade, to convene a stakeholders’ meeting for a comprehensive working report to the governor.