The Centre For Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) on Thursday has made a passionate appeal to the Lagos State Government to make COVID-10 vaccine accessible to People Living with Disabilities (PWDs) in the state.
Mr David Anyaele, the Executive Director of CCD gave the urge during a presentation titled “Assessment of Access to COVID-19 Vaccine Among PWDs living in Lagos.
Anyeale said structural, communication, and attitudinal barriers are some of the reasons why PWDS may not benefit from COVID-19 vaccine in Lagos State.
“PWDs in Nigeria are facing a plethora of challenges that often undermine their access to social and health care services.
“The Lagos State Special People’s Law 2021 also pointed out in section 32(2) that PWDs are entitled to free health care service in state owned hospital.
“However, by observation, there is no deliberate and specific commitment from the government towards social and health inclusion of PWDs in their COVID-19 vaccine programme since its arrival.
“Most of the state agencies run their programmes without consideration for PWDs, especially the Ministry of Health and the Primary Health Care Board of Lagos State.
“The board designed the distribution of activities around COVID-19 vaccination without inclusion of people with disabilities, while education, information and education materials are not targeting our members.
“What we are sharing here today are fact from the street and not assumption,” he said.
According to him, the deaf, physical, blind, spinal cord, albinism and leprosy where the five cluster groups of the socio-demographic profile of respondents for the research.
He noted that part of the objectives of the research was to evaluate available health stakeholders specific provisions for equal access to COViD-19 vaccine among PWDs in Lagos.
Anyaele called for collaboration with the Lagos State Primary Health Care Board and the Ministry of Health and the Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs (LASODA) to ensure that PWDs get easy access to COVID-19 vaccine.
“The primary health board should collaborate with LASODA to build capacity of managers , administrators and field health workers working on COVID-19 vaccination at various levels on how to respond to PWDs clusters.
“The Ministry of Information should also collaborate with the health ministry and LASODA to roll out an inclusive information, education and communication programme on Access to COVID-19 vaccine for PWDs in the state.
Anyaele, urged the Government to constitute a new board for Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs (LASODA).
He stressed that not having a new board in the last two years, had rendered LASODA ineffective.
“The board of LASODA is yet to be constituted and this is more than two years , that the tenure of the former board ended.
“What this means is that both the government and people living with disabilities (PWDs) are not benefitting from the main reason, why LASODA was established.
“The office has turned to window decoration and is ineffective to carryout its functions.
“Until the board of LASODA is setup, PWDs will continue to struggle to have a voice and benefit from the organisation,” he said.
He urged government at all levels to provide viable platforms to ease challenges faced by PWDs