Nigeria to champion breakthrough in remote sensored white canes for the blind
The Federal Government has muted a plan to champion technological modification into the conventional White Canes, in a manner that it would be digitalised with remote sensing for more visibility for the virtually impaired.Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, stated this yesterday in Abuja to mark the 2020 White Cane Day.She said, granted that the White cane is a borrowed technology, Nigeria can be at the forefront of a breakthrough to digitalise the White cane for more precision utility for the virtually impaired.
Represented by the Director, Humanitarian, Ali Grema, she said the ministry has begun the process that will engender production of modernised tools, through a local firm for onward distribution to people with virtual impairments, to aid movements.
This was just as she warned against the maltreatment of older persons particularly those living with disabilities at a social development Symposium to mark the 30th anniversary of international day of older person.She said, “White Cane Safety/Awareness Day dates back to 1964 following the adoption of the joint resolution by the US Congress, designating 15th October, to recognize the blind and visually impaired persons to travel safely, as they give them visibility.
“In line with this year’s theme and in the area of technological innovations and advancement The country through one of our local producers, is at the forefronts of bringing technological modifications to the conventional White Canes, making it more utility tool for the blind and visually impaired.
“We look forward to modern White Canes with sensors and alarms as well as other features that will help the blind and visually impaired live more independence.”
The Minister disclosed that Nigeria does not have accurate data for persons with blindness as the speculated number is between 10 to 15 millionThis Day was a National observance in the United States set aside to recognize that white canes enable blind and visually impaired persons to travel safely, as they give them visibility.
However, over the years the emphasis of the White Cane Safety Day has shifted away from safety to independence and equality. Thus, to equally celebrate White Cane both as a safety symbol and as well as a tool that enable blind and visually impaired persons to explore and navigate their environment the White Cane Safety Day has been referred to as The White Cane Awareness Day. “In Nigeria, where it is estimated that up to 10-15 million Nigerians are Persons with Disabilities.Though there is no accurate data on the number of persons in Nigeria with blindness or’ visual impairments, an appreciable number of the PWDs in Nigeria are blind or’ visually impaired.”
She urged Nigerians that, “to recognize the significant contributions that older persons make to our families, communities and societies throughout their lives, they have given their time and energy to helping others, and they continue to do so.” In return, we should do more to support their human rights and freedoms, including their right to live in dignity and security free from want and free from fear.”
The ministry also join the global world to celebrate the 30th anniversary of international day of older person.The minister disclosed that the national policy on ageing has been finalized awaiting the Federal Executive Council Approval.”As you may be aware, our elders provide us with love and care, and are a source of wisdom and talent, influencing who we are and who we aspire to be.”Together we have a duty to support older people in realizing their human rights and living with dignity.She said the one Day symposium on 2020 Internattional Day of Older Persons which is on annual celebration of senior citizens around the world gave the ministry a chance to take stock of the opportunities and challenges related to population ageing towards ensuring societies are occommodating of all ages.
She said the ministry serves as the national vehicle to bring about speedy humanitarian policies and provide effective coordination of National and International humanitarian interventions.She said it also ensures strategic disaster mitigation, preparedness and response; and manage the formulation and implementation of fair focused social inclusion and protection programs in Nigeria.”Our Vision is To have social protection systems that are prooctive, humane, inclusive and sustainable for the improvement and general welfare of the people.”This year’s Theme is “Pandemics: do They change how we address age and ageing?” because we know That older’ people are at higher risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.”In the African Region, more than 17000 people aged over’ 60 years have lost their lives to COVID-19, occounTing for over 50% of The COVID-19 deaths in The Region.
Also, she observed that this year has also been recognized as The “Year of The Nurse and Midwife”. International Day of Older Persons 2020 will highlight the role of the health care workforce in contributing to the health of older’ persons, with special recognition of the nursing profession, and a primary focus on the role of women who are relatively undervalued and in most cases inadequately compensated.
“Most importantly, it is time to recognize the significant contributions that older persons make to our families, communities and societies.”Throughout their lives, they have given their‘ time and energy to helping other’s and they continue to do so. In return, we should do more to support their human rights and freedoms, including their right to live in dignity and security-free from want and free from fear.”In realization of this fact, the honourable Minister initiated various programs and activities towards ensuring healthy ageing.”Also, the Ministry promotes deliberate policy interventions in partnership wih both international, Regional and Sub-regional bodies to develop and implement programmes and projects that will ensure the overall wellbeing of the elderly.She observed that the elderly are the world’s fastest growing population group, with those 60 years or older constituting one person in 10, a figure that is expected to rise to one person in five by mid-century.