Formal support services for People living With Disabilities (PWDs) in Southeast Nigeria
Keywords:Availability, disability, formal support services, knowledge, persons with disabilities
Owing to a lack of functional formal support services, persons with disabilities face numerous challenges in daily life in Nigeria. The Nigerian government enacted the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 to cater to the needs of persons with disabilities and support services. However, knowledge and types of formal support services available to persons with disabilities have received little research attention. Our research assessed the formal support services available to persons with disabilities in Southeast Nigeria. A qualitative research method was adopted. Focus Group Discussions and In-depth Interviews were used to collect data from 65 purposively-selected participants. Data was analysed using themes and quotes. Findings revealed that the majority of persons with disabilities are unaware of any coordinated formal support services for members. Persons with disabilities' difficulties in completing daily tasks were exacerbated by a lack of organised and functional formal support. We established that inadequate resources and assistive devices occasioned by lack of political will, impede the effectiveness of available formal support services for persons with disabilities. We recommended that state governments establish functional disability commissions under the Disability Act, for effective coordination of support services and inclusion and integration of PWDs in society.