The Federal Government has unveiled the Roadmap for Local Standardized Assistive Technologies for Persons with Disabilities for the next five years (2021- 2022).
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq, disclosed this at the Public Presentation of the National Roadmap on local Production of Standard Assistive Technologies for Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria.
Represented by Alhaji AIi Grema, Director Humanitarian Affairs Department, she said, “the Roadmap has been developed to pilot the implementation of the key enabling actions, activities and programmes that will be instrumental to an organized production, procurement and distribution of Assistive Technologies for PWDs in Nigeria’’.
According to the Minister, “the objectives are to provide guidance for production, procurement and distribution of assistive technologies, to ensure quality control of local production, mainstream local production, help in providing enabling environment for employment creation and to ensure availability and affordability of assistive technology for PWDs in Nigeria”.
“The Ministry through her Special Need Department has continuously made concerted efforts towards improving the lives of PWDs in Nigeria. These efforts have at different times been aimed at specific objectives to generally fetch better living outcomes for PWDs, the Ministry has been procuring Assistive Technologies (AT) for identified PWDs and other PWDs focused NGOs in the country, most of them being foreign AT, either procured directly by the Ministry or donated”.
Continuing, the Minister said,” To ensure that the goal of the document is achieved, the Ministry had conducted a nationwide assessment visit to major local producers of ATs in the 36 states and the FCT where substantial number of local producers of the AT were identified; capacities of 48 of them has been built and provided with a grant of N200,000 each to be able to overcome greater portion of the challenges encountered in the production process of standardized devices”.
“The Roadmap captures both the global and Nigerian context of AT, it X-rayed the current situation of PWDs, their AT requirements and the local producers of the AT from the perspective of demography, human right, disability situation, health situation, disaster risk management, stigma, monitoring and evaluation of the change”.
She said that it is the hope of the Federal Government that the Roadmap on Local production Standard Assistive Technologies for PWDs is a step in the right direction for the Nation and that the Standardization of the Production, procurement and distribution of ATs in Nigeria will ultimately secure better lives for PWDs”.
Earlier, the Director of Special Needs Mrs. Nkechi Onwukwe in her welcome address said,” ATs play important role in maintaining and improving disability functioning areas of vision, hearing, cognitive mobility and communication thereby promoting the well-being and livelihood of PWDS.
She added that the Ministry through the Department of Special Needs is working in collaboration with partners to nurture and harness the potentials of persons with disabilities as well as promoting activities that enhance their interactions, mainstreaming an empowerment for a more sustainable economic, social and political growth of the Nation”.
Mr. Pius Obuh of the Leprosy Mission Nigeria in his presentation of the overview of the Roadmap said that 15% of Nigerians are estimated to be living with one form of disability or another, more than one billion in the world need Assistive Technology . (WHO 2011).
He noted that at one point to another an individual will need an assistive device, to help in the daily activities as age advances.
Other dignitaries at the event include the National Director Leprosy Mission Nigeria, Dr Sunday Udoh, Representative of the Executive Director, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities,Lawrence Idemudia, Representative of local producers of assistive Technology, Adewumi Kadiri, among others.
Dr. Nasir Sani Gwarzo
Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development