The Federal Government in its effort to ensure that Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria lived effectively has Commenced validation meeting on the draft National Roadmap for local producers of Assistive Devices for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, disaster management and social development, Sadiya Umar Farouq who was ably represented by the permanent secretary, Bashir Nura Alkali said the importance of Assistive Technologies in the life of Persons with Disabilities cannot be overemphasized as it enables them to live healthy, productive, independent and dignified lives.
Farouq However said, “it is sad to say that most people who really need these technologies find it very difficult to access them, largely because assistive devices and technology are not readily available and even if available, are unaffordable not because Nigeria lacks the expertise, but because our local manufacturers are limited to scaling up the product ion of quality assistive devices due to the persistent use of obsolete equipment and lack of basic capital to strengthen production which makes most product often inappropriate for the intended users”.
She state that the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development through her Special Needs Department (formerly Rehabilitation Department) in collaboration with partners is working assiduously to improving the lives of Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria. These efforts have at different times been aimed at specific objectives to greatly fetch better living outcomes for PWDs in Nigeria.
“It is therefore important to note that when PWDs cannot easily access Assistive Technologies at most affordable rates they are often excluded, isolated, and locked into poverty, thereby increasing the impact of disease and disability itself on a person, their family, and Society in general. The government and all and sundry must therefore be committed to making these devices available and affordable to those that need them so that throuqh the use of Assistive Technology, barriers are removed and thereby enhancing their physical and mental capabilities which will in turn lead to greatly improved quality of life.
“The Federal Government through my Ministry wish to change this narrative and therefore felt the need to come up with a working document that will guide AT implementation in Nigeria. It is on this basis that this stakeholder’s validation meeting is convened as a critical step to the development of a National Roadmap on Local Production of Assistive Technologies for Persons with Disabilities.
The roadmap is designed to Provide guidance for production, procurement and distribution of Assistive Technologies in Nigeria, Ensure quality control in Local production of AssistiveTechnologies for PWDs in Nigeria; Mainstream local production of Assistive Technologies in innovative and industrial development of the Country, Help in providing enabling environment for employment creation and Ensure availability and affordability of Assistive Technologies for PWDs in Nigeria.
Adding that the Ministry is Currently working with partners to develop an Assistive Technology investment case so that individuals, governments at all levels, and Corporate entities can see reason why they should invest in Assistive Technologies in Nigeria. And therefore reassured all stakeholders, of Government commitment to providing enabling environment for Assistive technologies related businesses to thrive as well as doing her bit to cater for the needs of her citizens including Persons With Disabilities.
22nd June, 2021