By Fatima Muraina
Ondo state government has indicated its readiness to give attention to sign language for adequate accessibility of sexual reproductive health services for special people in the state.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Abdulwahaab Adegbenro made this known in an interview with The Hope shortly after a Rally and Dialogue programme to commemorate the International sign language Day held at the School for the Hearing Impaired at the weekend in Akure, Ondo state.
Adegbenro, who also spoke at the event, promised to make case for special persons to be considered as vulnerable group to get free medical services in the health scheme newly put in place by the state government.
He stressed the need to create a special ministry to take care of the special people so that thier special needs could be addressed properly.
He observed the need to engage people that have the skills of sign language to ensure meeting the expected goal adding that it was necessary to introduce it as a course from the secondary school to the university level so that they can be helped out.
While appealing to Nigerians to be careful and considerate not to put special people into problem, Adegbenro raised the importance of taking immunization seriously to avoid issues like measles which he said may affect the ears and the eyes to avoid such problems resulting to special disabilities.
Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mr. Alaba Adeyemi observed the need to collaborate with other stakeholders to meet the expected target.
He said the state has been doing a lot to make life easy and comfortable for the people.
Organizer of the programme and Chief Executive Officer of Kids and Teens, Mr. Martin Mary Falana urged government to go back to the use of sign language in the broadcast media, hospitals, government agencies and parastatals for the benefit of the special children,
This he opined will make them get access to everything and particularly in the sexual reproductive health sector.
According to him, there are hard cases of sexual abuses on the special persons but nobody is speaking or advocating for them.
Falana who pleaded that more love be shown to the special people, called on philanthropists to help provide the children with some things like provisions and food items to complement the free education giving by the state government.
He however advised the special students to always report where they are not given required health facilities for government to take necessary steps.
The Vice Principal of the school, Mr Leloh Andrew said that sign language makes the students happier and having a sense of belonging because he said there is ability in disability.
Andrew appealed that government should engage the services of those who have skills in signs and language to meet the yearnings of the special people.
According to him, several of them are university graduates without employment who could as well serve as interpreters in government institutions.
Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion Mr . Akinwande Oniye advised that born with disability does not mean loosing all but could still become what they would become.
He urged people not to hide their special children but exposed them to where they could get necessary assistance.
Miss Yemisi Ademola, who is now a graduate narrated her ordeal when she was sexually abused at the age of 19.
She said the special children have ability and brain to do all things and should be given equal rights as being enjoyed by others.