By Fasilat Lawal

People living with disabilities in the country should be considered in decisions that border on various issues including climate change and health. 

 Speakers canvassed this at a symposium on Climate Change Health and Disability held at the College of Medicine, University College Hospital Ibadan, 

Chairman of the occasion, who is the Grand Patron, Association of People Living with Disabilities, Oyo State Chapter, Professor Sabit Olagoke, said the impact of climate change was obvious globally due to industrialization and urbanization. 

He explained that certain groups including People Living with Disabilities are disproportionately burdened by the effects of climate change. 

Professor Olagoke said that People Living with Disabilities are often left out of plans meant to protect the rights of people to clean and healthy environment, most especially as it affects auditory and visually impaired persons.

In a paper entitled ‘Climate Change and Infectious Diseases’, Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association, Ogun State Branch, Dr Kunle Ashimi, pointed out that  People with Disabilities were faced with lots of  adverse effects of climate ranging from flood disasters, drought, to lack of access to quality health care and poverty, which expose them to water borne diseases, besides  difficulties to move from one place to another for safety.

Dr Ashimi called on government to render necessary assistance by empowering individuals with disabilities to become agents of change. 

He noted that people with disabilities should not be marginalized but rather be involved in decision making over climate change as well as other matters that affect their wellbeing. 

Earlier in an address of welcome, Head of Department of Physiotherapy College of Medicine UCH, Associate Professor Adesola Odole, said the Symposium would help to shed light on the critical intersection of climate change, health and disabilities with a focus on impact of climate change in Nigeria. 

Associate Professor Odole explained that rising temperature, extreme weather conditions and environmental degradation have had severe consequences on health and well being, especially of individuals with disabilities, making it imperative to understand and address the unique challenges they faced.

The don, who equally stressed the need for people with disabilities to be  involved in decisions over matters that affect  them, urged governments to reduce cost of health care to facilitate their access good health care 

National President, Joint National Association of Person with Disabilities, Aliyu Abdullahi, who said it was necessary to for government to put in place necessary measures to protect  people with disabilities, appealed to the incoming government to include people with disabilities in governance for good representatives.

 Chief Executive Officer, CEO,  RHOWI, Hajiya Amina In her presentation said MGDs goals in 2023 states was designed to leave no one behind, noted that people with disabilities should be given equal rights in the society, saying if there was any decision that had to do with disasters, non involvement of people with Disabilities would amount to discrimination, and condemnable. 

Two of the participants at the event, Opeyemi John and Magret Sunday said the Symposium had impacted positively  on them .

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