Spinal cord victims seek govt, Organizations, others support, want rehabilitation center established

Samuel Luka, Bauchi

Governments at various levels, organizations and spirited individuals have been called upon to support the people living with spinal cord injuries to enable them overcome numerous challenges of life, most especially during disaster and conflict moments.

The Spinal Cord Injuries Association of Nigeria (SCIAN) made the call Saturday at a one-day awareness campaign and stakeholder engagement activity held at the conference hall of the medical and health workers union, Bauchi.

Speaking during the event, the Bauchi state Chairman of the association, Iliya Ismail explained that the one-day programme was organized to commemorate World Spinal Cord Injury Day, that is being marked globally every 5th of September.

Themed: “SCI in Conflicts and Disasters: Prepare and Prevent”, Mr. Ismail noted that this year’s Programme was aimed at raising awareness on the difficulties being faced by SCI individuals in conflict zones in Bauchi State and globally.

The association appealed for attention to the plight of spinal cord injury (SCI) victims and all persons with disabilities (PWD).

According to Ismail, there is the need for efforts towards the establishment of rehabilitation centres for members of the association.

He said experience has shown that persons with disabilities, especially wheel chair users, are often left behind or abandoned during evacuation exercises in disasters and conflicts situations due to lack of preparation, as well as inaccessible facilities, services and transportation systems.

The Chairman of the association in Bauchi further said that emergency plans should consider the fact that most spinal cord injured persons uses wheelchairs and as such, their locations and emergency needs should be known and assessed before disaster strikes.

Ismail called for the provision of rehabilitation facilities to cater for SCI individuals and PWDs, adding that such effort is key to the functionality of most of his members.

The Chairman of the association regretted that there is no dedicated rehabilitation facility to provide such much needed support in Bauchi State.

Ismail said, “we are therefore, calling on Government, Corporate Organizations and Public spirited individuals to support SCIAN Bauchi State Chapter to construct it’s rehabilitation centre”.

On her part, the Bauchi state Secretary of the association, Safiya Gimba called on the government to enroll her members in the ongoing health insurance program of the state.

She further reiterated the position of the association on the establishment of rehabilitation centres.

According to her, the centers when created, will pave the way for skills acquisition program for the members of the association.

Safiya said such initiative will provide a life saving skills that can improve the economic status of SCI members.

“Such empowerment will mitigate the menace of street begging and other vices among members”, she suggested.

Our Corresspondent reports that during the engagement, medical experts offered health tips to both SCI victims and their caregivers on how to manage their conditions within and outside their homes.

The activity, according to the association, was organised with support from Bauchi State Agency for Persons with Disability.

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