Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) groups in Nigeria have called on the federal government to ensure the full implementation of the Disability Act to address the challenges being faced by these “special” citizens in their daily lives.
The groups made the call at the third edition of the International Day of Persons With Disabilities organised by Cedar Seed Foundation and launching of the Disability Impact Fund in Abuja.
The executive director, Cedar Seed Foundation, Lois Auta Udonkatad, said the launch will pave the way for not only inclusivity but also representation and participation for persons with disabilities in the areas of health, education, mobility and governance.
Addressing journalists earlier, Udonkatad called for urgent support to critical issues related to the inclusion of PWDs and incorporation of Disability Inclusive Service Delivery (DISD) into the day to day operations of all service providers.
She also asked for improved budgeting for disability interventions among government and donor agencies to increase funding for PWDs organisations.
“In Nigeria, recent data underscores that over 27 million Nigerians live with some form of disability as of 2020, underscoring the pressing need to comprehensively address the myriad challenges faced by PWDs,” she said.
“To achieve this, Cedar Sced Foundation has brought together a coalition of several organizations of persons with disabilities to carry out series of activities including awareness campaigns to religious bodies, press conference, award/fundraising dinner, a national disability dialogue and the launch of the disability Impact Fund – an initiative aimed at making resources readily available to persons with disabilities.
“Persons with disabilities, according to current statistics, are at double the risk of developing various health conditions such as depression, asthma, diabetes, stroke, obesity, or experiencing poor oral health.
“These challenges emanate from profound health inequities rooted in unfair conditions, encompassing stigma, discrimination, poverty, exclusion from education, and systemic barriers within the healthcare system,” Udonkatad added.