Disability Journey Initiative, DJI, an NGO, has urged government, NGOs and stakeholders to train persons living with disabilities on their reproductive health needs to enable them to live productive lives.
The founder of the organisation, Mr Greg Simon, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday, in Abuja.
Simon said most people living with disabilities were ignorant of their reproductive health rights and needed to be educated, depending on the peculiarity of their disability.
He added that enlightening them would help to reduce cases of sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, as well as HIV and AIDS transmission among them.
He explained that some persons with disabilities avoid health centres because of lack of knowledge, thereby missing out on valuable information on their health needs.
Simon urged NGOs on women groups, and reproductive health organisations should assist by organising trainings on the use of contraceptives, family planning methods, tips on pregnancy and breastfeeding, sexually transmitted diseases, among others, for them.
He added that health care providers such as doctors, nurses, midwives, should also be trained to have adequate knowledge on the special needs of persons living with disabilities.
He noted that “we encounter barriers to quality reproductive health care services such as health equipment, facilities and commodities because some of us are blind, with no arms or legs.
“Some of us, especially women, prefer to stay at home due to stigmatization from the public and self-pity, while others fall prey to sexual harassment due to their vulnerability.
“Women with disabilities also experience greater disadvantage than the men because they are less educated, work less and earn less than their male counterparts.”
He urged government to provide soft loans to the women to enable them to start businesses, and to distribute free contraceptive commodities to those living in rural areas to help them live healthy lives.
Simon pointed out that education and training were necessary to promoting healthy and respectful behavior among people living with disabilities and further appealed to government and citizens to support them.