The Scenario: Nigeria is home to over 20 million people with disabilities. Arguably, PWDs have suffered marginalisation across all spheres in the Nigerian state. In 2007, Nigeria ratified the Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD), however, it is only in 2017 that the Disability bill became law. While some people think that the Nigerian state took too long to sign this law, for many, it is laudable and a step towards achieving optimum health for PWDs. In the next couple of years, Nigeria will tilt towards the enforcement of the law to ensure access to structures and services for PWDs in Nigeria.
The Health Perspective: Imagine the stigma that comes with being a PWD, then imagine a PWD who is living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)? This presents a double-staged stigma. While stigma is only but part of the problem, it is important to find out how PWDs who are living with HIV adhere to their HIV treatment (ART). The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNIADS) is leading the global effort to end AIDS as a Public Health threat by 2030. To achieve this, we must be deliberate about the inclusion of PWDs in all HIV programming.
The burning Questions: What factors support them to adhere to their treatment? What factors do not support PWDs to adhere to treatment? What structures are in place to support adherence among PWDs? These and some other questions are what I hope to find answers to in my research. While Nigeria focuses on enforcing the Disability law, as a development worker and researcher, It is my hope that the findings from my research will inform policies and structures for PWDs in terms of HIV Programming. This will also be a worthy addition to the dearth of literature and data in this field.
The call: I have connected with a few people already who are doing amazing work in this field. I look forward to more connections in this regard. Get in touch.