Victims of spinal cord injury who are residents of states in the South-West have appealed to governments and corporate bodies to come to their aid to alleviate their sufferings to survive harsh economic conditions.
They spoke at a workshop to mark this year International Day for Spinal Cord Injury in Ibadan on Saturday.
Some of them said the prevailing economic condition in the country was affecting them much more that the rest of the society.
The South-West Coordinator, Rebuilding Hope On Wheels Initiative , Mr Ayodele Awobona, told our correspondent that spinal cord injury victims spent money everyday to keep themselves alive
He said many of them needed to use catheter, adult diapers and drugs apart from other things and all these required money.
He stated that despite this need for money to survive, they were being discriminated against in terms of employment, loans and empowerment schemes.
He, however, lauded the Advocacy for Grassroots Sports Foundation for giving some victims of spinal cord injuries opportunities to express themselves in some sporting activities, urging others to emulate that.
He said “It is very expensive to live with spinal cord injury. There are things many of us need on a daily basis to survive. Some need adult diapers, some need catheter. Many need drugs and physiotherapists but all these are very expensive.
“Despite having to depend on caregivers, drugs and mobility aids we are being discriminated against in the labour market, appointments and in everything. Some families even abandon spinal cord injury patients and government is also not helping the matter.
” We need the support of the government especially at this time. We have people who have qualifications to work anywhere. They have the requirements, they should be employed , loans should be given to empower our people. We can contribute our quotas to the development of the country without being a burden on anyone. “
The Chairman, Spinal Cord Injury Association of Nigeria, Osun State chapter, Mr Lucky Olayemi, said many people who had spinal cord Injury did not like to go out because of rejection and lack of support from the government.
He said many of the public places like government offices, schools and other places were not accessible easily to his members.
He appealed to government, corporate bodies and wealthy individual to build rehabilitation centres for these people to enable them to become productive members of the society once again.
A student of the University of Ibadan, Patience Olivia, said persons with spinal cord injuries needed support from families, government and corporate bodies as well as individuals to be reintegrated back to the society.
Olivia said she dropped out of the Benue State University at 400 level when she had the injury and had to start all over at the University of Ibadan.
A former banker, Aminat Olurode, who lost her job after her accident said rescuers should be taught the best way to move accident victims without adding to their woes while trying to help to save their lives.
She said she was rescued from an accident scene and she was made to sit down in a vehicle while being taken to a hospital. She said doctors later told her that if she had been laid flat on her back she would not have suffered spinal cord injury but just fractures.
Also, Hannatu Abubakar, who is walking gradually said the injury had caused her so many things but thank God she is alive.