A medical expert and director of Willing Health Advocacy and Training Support (WHATS), Mrs Victoria Amu-Uwakwe has blamed the increase in number of disability and handicapped people in the country on lack of rehabilitation therapy services.
Amu-Uwakwe stated this at the advocacy meeting with Niger State Hospital Management Board and other professionals in health care management.
She maintained that if there was adequate occupational therapy services most cases of impairment would not have resulted in physical handicap where the individual would have to depend on others for existence.
According to her, "occupational therapy services will add more value to medical treatment and it will reduce the level of handicapped individuals in our society."
She lamented that the nation's health care delivery system has suffered several shortfalls, describing the most obvious as that of rehabilitation therapy, which she said had not been given the required attention, partly because of shortage of occupational therapists.
She regretted that Occupational Therapy service is almost non-existent in health institutions in the country.
The WHATS director who lamented that only five health institutions had Occupational Therapy Services out of the 58 health institutions (state hospitals, neuropsychiatry hospitals, university teaching hospitals and Federal Medical Centres) in the country, stated that the facilities in a few places where it was available were obsolete.
She said while most developing countries like Kenya which is smaller than Nigeria produce over 40 occupational therapists annually, the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife, which is the only degree awarding institution, would be graduating its first set of six students in the year 2009.