PATE Advocates Medical Inclusiveness for Persons Living With Disabilities

The Coordinating Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate, has identified inclusiveness in healthcare services for persons living with disabilities. Pate made this assertion at the inaugural meeting with the National Steering Committee Initiative on Disability Inclusiveness Healthcare, recently in his office.

The Minister urged members of the committee to connect themselves with relevant stakeholders to ease the activities of people with disabilities. He assured members that agencies under the Ministry of Health, would uphold the Act on people with disabilities to enable them have access to the services of the agencies.

Speaking further, the Minister advocated for the production of assisted devices in Nigeria, which should be incorporated in the social health insurance scheme so that some barriers faced by persons with disabilities can be identified and tackled. He beckoned on healthcare facilities to give provisions for employment of persons with disabilities.
Pate also directed that World Health Organization (WHO), Sight Savers, National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (NICRAT) and the Medical Rehabilitation Therapy Registration Board of Nigeria (MRTB) be included as members of the Committee.

In his opening remarks, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Special Needs and Equal opportunities, Hon. Mohammed Abba Isa, said one of the mandates given to him by Mr. President is to liaise with ministries, departments , agencies, sub-national authorities, development partners, civil society organization and organization of persons with disabilities for inclusion and inculcation of disability requirements and perspectives in their plans, policy and programmes, to ensure that inclusive governance is being achieved in fulfillment of the Renewed Hope Agenda.

He commended the Coordinating Minister for his exemplary leadership role in championing inclusive healthcare, which resulted in the setting up of the committee.

The Special Assistant further disclosed that the President’s Renewed Hope Agenda has placed paramount importance on an equitable society for ensuring that no one is left behind, especially people with disabilities.

Hon. Muhammed Abba Isa, called on members of the committee to embrace their roles as champions of inclusive healthcare, charging them to work tirelessly and collectively to turn the vision into reality and carry everyone along regardless of ability to receive the care and support they deserve.

Also speaking the Executive Secretary/CEO, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Mr. James David Lalu, stressed the need to include persons with disabilities in the health insurance scheme. He noted that one of the challenges faced by persons with disabilities is accessibility to the service of health facilities.

Mr. James Lalu therefore called for partnership with the Ministry and other MDA’s to ensure easy access to their services for persons with disabilities, stating that the commission is working assiduously to provide language interpreters in the healthcare centres to enable easy flow of communication between health personnel and the persons with disabilities.

He added that the commission is in collaboration with the Federal University of Lafia, Nassarawa State, to develop a degree programme curriculum for language interpreters.

The Executive Secretary also promised to embark on language training classes for medical practitioners for free communication between them and their clients.

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