Persons with disabilities (PWDs) are often sidelined due to their inability to access necessary information. This has prompted the State Accountability and Voice Initiative (SAVI) with some other Civil Society groups and appropriate Health agencies to come together and address the challenges PWDs are faced with and proffer solutions, this stake-holders meeting was held at the Knightsbridge hotel on Opebi, Ikeja, Lagos.
At the event, Dr. Dan Onwujekwe, a senior research fellow at the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), in an interview with reporters brought to attention the fact that HIV/AIDs can bring about disability as it attacks the immune system which can cause blindness in some instances or even paralysis.
He further stated that most of the PWDs are some of the less privileged in the society hence, information dissemination should be targeted at these groups while having in mind that there are different disabilities with their various peculiarities.
Also in attendance was Ms Ejiro Okotie, Coordinator of the Nigerian Association of the Blind HIV/AIDS and sexual Reproductive Health Project for Blind Adolescents and Youths, she outlined issues of confidentiality, discrimination and stigma as reasons preventing PWDs from disclosing their status and seeking help.
Dr. Opeoluwa Akinola, Chairman of the Nigerian Association of the Blind stated that no vital provisions such as alternative means of communication and transportation have been put in place to help PWDs who visit health centers.
He hoped that this program would sensitize the society and expose the fallacious belief that PWDs are immune to HIV/AIDs as some infected persons believe they can be cured once sexual intercourse takes place with a PWD.
The African Union representative of the Association of the Blind, lauded the passion displayed by all the participants. He emphasized the importance of Sex Education to children and adolescents as a preventive measure. He added that there was a need to recognize the issue of physical disability in the society.
The event came to a close with Dr. Bukola Adebayo, Secretary of the National Association of the Blind’s closing remarks where he thanked all the participants and organisers for taking time-out to attend the event.