By Esenvosa Izah
Lagos – The Lagos State Government (LASG) says part of its goal is to ensure a state that works for all residents including People Living with Disabilities (PWDs).
Dr Tolu Ajomale of the Special Project Unit, Lagos State Ministry of Health, made this known at a Brunch Get-Together organised by Across All Initiative, an NGO, held on Saturday in Lagos.
The event titled: “AllLivesMatterNGR“ was organised for PWDs.
According to him, the government has demonstrated its commitment to PWDs by establishing a N500million trust fund for the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA).
He said, “This is to provide a financial base for LASODA to work, and also to have the financial capacity to do its work.
“The special people’s law established in 2012 also provides for free health service for PWDs in all government hospitals.
“But in order to expand that capacity, we are trying to ensure accessibility.
“Having access to health services itself is not only being able to physically access your doctor, it also includes being able to pay for services.
“These are challenges we know PWDs face. “
Ajomale said that in order to address the challenges of accessibility and affordability, the government established the state health service scheme in 2017.
He said that the scheme was to ensure that there was a health insurance policy that worked for residents.
“The scheme is supposed to ensure that everyone has access to health care at minimal cost.
“So, we have that financial capacity coming into place to ensure we have access to health care .
“LASODA has been doing a lot of training in hospitals, so that people with hearing impairment can get access to health services, “ Ajomale said.
Also, the Founder, Across All Initiative, Mr Seun Dosunmu, said that the initiative was for the well being, economic empowerment and full inclusion of PWDs in the country.
Dosunmu said, “There is so much discrimination against PWDs when it comes to employment and social inclusion.
“Aside from the stigma attached to their condition, they now have to be excluded from social activities and planning.
“We want an all inclusive society, because we have an estimated 25 million Nigerians, who have one form of disability or the other.
“I see no reasons why we should not have them in governance, leadership roles, organisations, or enjoy other benefits like other people”.
The founder said that the government should collaborate with NGOs to create more awareness to ensure that PWDs were fully included in the affairs of the country.
A participant at the event, Mr Daniel Oti, lauded the programme, saying the programme showed a wide scope of opportunities for PWDs.
Oti said that the programme would increase awareness and help to reduce stigma associated with PWDs.
“I am hoping this initiative continues; for me, this has brought enlightenment, re-orientation, and capacity building for PWDs.
“I am also an advocate of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“If the country does not change the way it approaches things, the fear is that we may not meet the goals,” he said. (NAN)