By Chioma Umeha
Persons With Disabilities, (PWDs) has called on the State Government to address Sexual and Reproductive Health, (SRH) policy as well as accessing SRH commodities by disabled.
Addressing Journalists in Lagos during a round table discussion to mark the International Day of Persons With Disabilities organised by Journalists Against AIDS, ( JAAIDS) in collaboration with National Association of The Blind, (NAB), a member of the board of Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs, (LASODA), Mr Adebayo Adebukola who represented the General Manager, Mr Babatunde Awelenje said the government is working on implementing the Special Peoples Law in the State.
He said the law when implemented will guarantee free, health care services, education and transportation, stressing that such freebies will be accessed when PWDs are registered and certified by LASODA, adding that drugs collected by PWDs at health care centers will be paid for.
Alewenje however said that Lagos State door is disability sensitive and PWDs inclusion of participation without restriction is guaranteed, stating that efforts are made to provide sign language in hospitals for PWDs for easy communication.
Speaking during her presentation on “addressing the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescent with Disabilities towards sustainable and resilient society for all”, Mrs Rose Mordi of the Down syndrome Foundation Lagos said PWDs should be part in decision making especially about sexual and reproductive health.
Mordi said, “provision of SRH rights education and information about sexuality and relationship education is essential learning for young people with disability who are more likely to require direct instructions to learn positive and protective skills and are more vulnerable to sexual and abuse and exploitation.”
She however added, that research consistently shows that sexuality and relationship education is important to young people with disability and can be successful in contributing to knowledge and skill acquisition as well as influencing positive behavioral development.
Mordi stated that “there is need for implementation of policy and practice guidelines. The needs of PWDs are often overlooked or neglected, therefore addressing the SRH needs for adolescent with disabilities should be part of the everyday reality for all people so we can understand that everyone has a right to receive information and make decisions when it comes to sexuality.