Disability Rights Advocacy Centre (DRAC) has urged Federal Government of Nigeria and other relevant authorities to ensure that appropriate structures such as Universal Desk for Women/Persons With Disabilities (W/PWDs) in all Medical Centres are being institutionalised to ensure increased access to qualitative Health care services for W/PWDs in Nigeria as stipulated in Disability Act.
The Organisation made this call at a 2 day Stakeholders’ meeting on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of Women with Disabilities in Nigeria put together as a part of the activities to commemorate the International Women’s Day 2021 as well as to share knowledge on “Making it Work” project, which aimed at improving access to SRHR services for Women and girls with Disability in Nigeria.
Speaking at the meeting, the Executive Director of DRAC, Irene Ogbogu said ‘Making it Work’ project focuses on bringing National Policies to life and initiating actions to ensure that it is adopted and implemented by stakeholders across board in order increase access to healthcare services for women and girls with Disabilities in Nigeria.
“Too often, we receive cases and reports of how Women with Disabilities are being outrightly denied their rights to medical care due lack of structures such as Disabilities Desk in our healthcare centers in Nigeria for instance, this Desk ought to cater to the needs of W/PWDs while visiting any medial centre for Health care services.
“Unavailability of this Desk, poses a major barrier, preventing W/PWDs from accessing quality health care services particularly Sexual Reproductive Health Care services”.
Ogbogu while enumerating on the importance of Universal Disability Desk in all health care centre stated that it would help in collating credible data base for W/PWDs, which would be use in implementing National Policy on Health towards providing all inclusive adequate Health Care services for all Nigerians.
While sharing their sordid experiences in the hands of medical personnel, one of the PWDs at the meeting said currently there is a major issue of discrimination against W/PWDs in most of healthcare centers in Nigeria, which according to her should not be happening at all, in spite of Disability Act.
“I had gone for medical check up at the National Hospital Abuja, and then while at the parking lot, the security Officer accosted me and ask me to move my car away to another part of the parking lot that would make it difficult for me to gain entrance to the Doctor’s office.
“This harassment was so shocking to me that I had to make efforts to see the Chief Medical Officer (CMD) because there was no desk for the PWDs to report such matters to.
“And while at the CMD’s Office, the secretary’s attitude was another annoying issue. She did everything within her power to prevent me from seeing the CMD assuming had come to beg for alms because of my Disability. Eventually, the CMD saw me through the CCTV camera and invited me into his office to lodge my compaints after she made me waited for several hours”
“These amongst other embarrassing situations have continued to prevent W/PWDs from accessing quality health care services which ought to be their fundamental human rights” she narrated.