Since 2016, The International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS), has been observing Spinal Cord Injury Day September 5th yearly. It is celebrated each year with different slogans and themes that highlight the most current issues of concern for spinal cord injured individuals.
It’s also set aside to highlight the most current issues of concern for spinal cord injured (SCI) individuals. The theme of this year’s event is “Access to SCI Services – A life less complicated”
The Spinal Cord Injuries Association of Nigeria, SCIAN, an organisation established in 1984 to support sci injured Nigerians, wishes to use the occasion to bring to the attention of members of the public, the challenges faced by Nigerians with spinal cord injury (sci).
Disability is ubiquitous and as such it should be the concern of everyone. “Anything can make anyone disabled, and anyone can be disabled at any point in time. Hence, Disability is and should be everyone’s Business”
The difference between what spinal cord injured persons in the developed and some developing countries can do and what we can do here in Nigeria is determined by access to post-injury rehabilitation facilities which they have, but which remained a mirage in Nigeria.
Many decades after SCIAN was allocated a piece of land to build a Rehabilitation Centre in Lagos, we have been unable to either put up the building or procure the necessary equipment. The lack of access to rehabilitation has seriously affected our level of functionality, thus making life quite difficult and complicated for us. Many spinal cord injured persons rot away at home after leaving the hospital as there is no public and affordable Rehabilitation centre to address their physical and mental health challenges.
We recall, with a deep sense of appreciation, that as the Governor of Lagos State, the President gave us a fixed portion of his monthly salary and also assisted SCIAN in some landscaping and perimetre fencing. Now as the President, and with access to more resources, we call on the president to graciously consider the construction of our Rehab complex as a major intervention in the health sector. This will undoubtedly empower sci persons to live independent and productive life and thus contribute to the socioeconomic development of the country.
We also call on Corporate entities and philanthropists to come to our aid so that Nigerians who suffer injuries to their spinal cord can be as functional and productive as our counterparts in other countries.
In conclusion however, we call on the three tiers of government, as well as MDAs and corporate organisations to respect the “Discrimination Against Persons With Disability (Prohibition) Act 2018” and ensure that policies, appointments and facilities reflect the provisions of the Act.