John Adams, Minna
Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, has said that the Ministry has, this year, alone distributed over 10,000 mobility aids and appliances to people with disabilities across the country.
The Minister spoke, in Minna, Niger State capital, on Tuesday, when she commissioned a newly-constructed five rooms and ten bed Orthopedic wards and equipment center donated to the leprosariums in the state capital by the Leprosy Mission Nigeria (TLMN).
The Minister who was represented by the Director of Rehabilitation, Mrs. Nkechi Onwukwe from the ministry, said that the wheelchairs, clutches, walking sticks and other mobility aids were distributed to state ministries, organizations and associations with people living with disabilities.
The Minister disclosed that over 27 million Nigerians are living with various disabilities in the country, stressing that the greatest challenge facing people with disabilities is the inability of well to do individuals to donate to the needy and the disabled.
She applauded the Leprosy Mission Nigeria for the initiative of enhancing mobility of people who are struggling with one form of orthopaedic situations in Nigeria, noting that the Orthopedic wards will give relief to Nigerians who struggle to get limbs imported to the country at exorbitant prices.
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She further said that the Ministry of Women Affairs is partnering with the Mission on the production of assistive devices for people with disabilities in the country.
“Disability is complex and cross citing and issues of personal mobility of People with disabilities ought to be tailored towards the specific category of individual disability. I want to appreciate TLM Nigeria for their efforts in the production of assistive technologies such as above and below knee prosthetics, moulded shoes, elephant booth, orthsois amongst others. ”
Earlier the National Director The Leprosy Mission Nigeria (TLMN), Dr. Sunday Udo disclosed that no fewer than 170 patients including injured soldiers from the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east and other accident victims have benefitted from limbs manufactured at The Leprosy Mission (TLM) in Minna, Niger State.
According to Udo, “For the past one year, we have fitted over one hundred and fifty limbs which cut across different disabilities. Some of our clients include the Nigerian Army who sent injured soldiers from the Boko Haram insurgency and also accident victims.
“The fitting is very affordable compared to when patients travel abroad or visit some other health facilities in the country.”
Speaking also, member of Trustee of the Leprosy Global Fellowship, Dr. Shem Zagbayi Nuhu, said the idea was conceived and approved by the Leprosy Mission of England and Wales.
“Raising funds for support is a major challenge in Nigeria for people living with disability and leprosy and the project runs into millions of naira”, he said.
Dr. Nuhu who incidentally was born at the TLM, Minna, in 1957, charged Nigerians not to treat affected persons with disdain, saying, “it can lead to psychological trauma.”