National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) has called for more investment, subsidy, and more coordinate modalities for Assistive technology for the benefits of persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
This call was made on 6th of July, 2022 in Abuja during a National Dialogue On Adoption of Assistive Technology(Theme: Investing in Assistive Technology for Persons With Disabilities: Promoting Equity, Independent Living and Participation) organized by Disability Rights Advocacy Center (DRAC) in collaboration with NCPWD with support from Ford Foundation.
The Executive Secretary, NCPWD, Mr. James Lalu ably represented by Director, Social Integration, Mr. Lawrence Idemudia in his opening remark while appreciating DRAC, other NGOs, CSOs, MDAs, OPDs, and Private Companies for their passion towards standard living of PWDs through Assistive Technology, said that the dialogue is important because it created an opportunity where all stakeholders in the Assistive Technology can come together to brainstorm on the way forward in having a lasting and sustainable Assistive Technology that can be accessible to all.
He suggested a National Fund for Assistive Technology where PWDs benefits in either purchase or repair of Assistive Technology and devices, which is a practice in Singapore today.
“This fund is generated by contributions from Government, Philanthropists and Cooperate bodies. Nigeria can develop more reliable and accessible scheme by investing, subsidizing and developing modalities where PWDs can benefits”.
Speaking further, he said that it is in line with United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons With Disabilities (UNCRPD) and Sustainable Development Goals which Nigeria is a signatory to and these are legal frameworks used in accessing equal rights for all and more especially for persons with disabilities.
“Promoting equity, independent living and Participation of PWDs are all anchored on SDGs which are expected to be achieved in Assistive devices but not without having a proper and easy investment in the Assistive Technology”.
Research has shown that 5-15percent of the population needs Assistive Technology and devices which is predominantly found among disability community and if they are denied access, it will negatively impact on the economy and health of the society.
Dr. (Mrs) Akanle Olufunke T, Registrar/CEO, Medical Rehabilitation, Therapists Registration Board of Nigeria made a technical presentation on Assistive Technology for Persons With Disabilities; Policy and Practice.
There was panel discussion which featured panelists such as Nike Akinbola, Aver Akighir, John Ekom, Christopher Orafa, Beatrice Mube and Rasheed Taofic Isah and the discussion was on Disability, Family and Independent Living: Why access to Assistive Technology is critical.
There was also panel discussion on Financing Assistive Technology Following the Money which featured Bayode Olufemi Nigeria Association of the Blind (NAB), Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development representative, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion representative, Cedar crest Hospital representative, NEXIM Bank, and Nigeria Governor’s forum representative.
SUN-TECH Orthotics and Prosthetics led by Prince Sunday Ukachukwu, made presentation on demonstration of Assistive Technology in the lives of Persons with disabilities. The company also showed some of the Assistive devices that they are producing.
The event also featured acting Minister of Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Monilola Udoh who in her keynote address, pledged the Ministry’s support and commitment towards advancing Assistive Technology in Nigeria.
Other Organisations present at event are CBM International, CBM Global, The Leprosy Mission Nigeria, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) who collaborated with NCPWD to develop a National Scale Up Plan and Investment Case for Assistive Technology in Nigeria, NOTAP, Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Education among Others.
Some Pictures of The Event