By Bolade Omowunmi
Residents of Ogun State have been called upon to stop stigmatising and discriminating against people living with leprosy, as well as other forms of disabilities, as doing so would do them no good and could further ostracise them.
Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Efuwape made this call during a joint celebration of the 2021 International Leprosy Day and International Wheelchair Day, at the Women Development Trainning Centre, Oke-Ilewo, Abeokuta during which items including wheelchairs, grinding machine, deep freezers, industrial cooking gas, crutches and food items were donated.
Efuwape, represented by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Women Affairs, Hon. Adijat Adeleye while speaking on the themes for the Days, “Beat Leprosy, End Stigma and Advocate for Mental Wellbeing and Our Chair Our Mobility: No more Discrimination” noted that, the special people were celebrated to raise awareness about leprosy, which many people believe has gone into extinction, as well as end the discrimination and stigmatisation being confronted by the people living with it.
“Currently, it is not only the disease that is being overlooked, but those affected by it, hence, the need for the theme. The physically challenged are often discriminated and stigmatised, while these have negative impacts on them”, Efuwape said.
In her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Melutia Ogunremi urged the people with special needs to be courageous and not to serve as liabilities to others, adding that they should be ready to help themselves, so that people could help them.
‘’ Nobody should stigmatise or discriminate against the physically challenged persons or lepers, as they are created for the glory of God”, Melutia said.
Appreciating the gesture, the Chairman, Ogun State Chapter of the Physically Challenged, Mr. Olalekan Mohammed, appreciated the Prince Dapo Abiodun led administration and the Ministry for the support, while some of the beneficiaries, Messers. Lukmon Folonso and Cusmos Adeoye said the development would turn around their living conditions for the better.