JONAPWD SMILES AS MORE RESULTS FROM ADVOCACY VISITS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF DISABILITY RIGHTS LAW POUR IN, CALLS FOR MORE RESPONSE FROM MDAs/ SERVICE PROVIDERS.
Thursday, 1 April, 2021
It was all smiles today as the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Anambra state, today in Awka, celebrates the construction of a mobile ramp for wheelchair users by Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA) at their office. This is coming on the heels of the advocacy visit paid to the agency in January this year on their responsibility on the implementation of Anambra State Disabilities Rights Law, 2018. The ramp is meant to grant easy accessibility to persons with disabilities into the office of the agency.
Speaking at the event, the SA to the Governor on sign language communication, Hon. Collins Joseph, expressed his happiness that some of the MDAs under the Willie Obiano administration are already implementing some of the provisions of the Disability Rights Law, especially in the area of accessibility, and urged other MDAs to copy from ASHIA.
Also speaking, the Chairman of JONAPWD, Comr. Ugochukwu Okeke, stated that the reason for gathering members of the Association at the ASHIA state office was to appreciate the Executive Secretary of the Agency for his quick response on request we made for the construction of the ramps and meeting of other demands we made and also to create the awareness about the ramp to persons with Disabilities who are the direct beneficiaries as well as introducing the Agency to RoLAC Anambra, the sponsor of the advocacy visit through their EU funding projects as the first MDA that have started the implementation of the Disability Rights Law in the State. He thanked ASHIA for towing in the footstep of the Governor who has turned the issues of disability from the object of pity to a subject of right.
While appreciating the agency, the State coordinator of RoLAC, Mrs Josephine Onah, represented by Bar.Ifiora explained that RoLAC has been passionate about pushing for improved welfare for persons with disabilities, hence their support to JONAPWD for the creation of awareness on the implementation of the law. He remarked that for a law to have its intended impact, it needs a good person in authority for its implementation. He went further to thank ASHIA for setting the standard and called on other MDAs to emulate them.
In his response, Dr. Simon Onyemaechi, the Executive Secretary of ASHIA stated that the agency is set to fulfill the social contract the government has signed with the people, and following in the footsteps of the Governor who has demonstrated his inclusive principles with the appointment of a Special Adviser on Disability Matters and his support to the enactment of the Disability Rights Law, the agency has maintained inclusiveness in all its programs. He explained that the construction of the mobile ramp was as a result of their rented office and promised to construct a permanent ramp during the construction of their permanent office.
High point of the event was the wheeling up of a wheelchair user through the newly constructed ramp into the agency's office by the Executive Secretary.
Ikele Chinenye reporting