Living with a Spinal cord injury in Africa ,The Luxury of Owning an Assistive device

i am Yvonne , a woman living in Nigeria with a spinal cord injury. I have been using a wheelchair for over fifteen years now, and I know firsthand what it is like to live with a disability in Nigeria/Africa. One of the biggest challenges for people with disabilities in Nigeria/Africa is the lack of access to assistive devices.For anyone who doesn’t nt know what an assistive device is.

An Assistive Device is any device that helps persons with disabilities to do something that they are unable to do without assistance, thus giving that person more independence. Assistive Devices are not only equipment like Home Automation Products, Wheelchairs, Hoists, Ramps, and Adjustable Beds, etc. but also other items such as, Lap Trays, Adapted Eating Utensils, Hand Braces, Over Bed Tables, Wheelchairs and Crutch Bags, Wheelchair Gloves, and Adaptive Clothing such as Shower Bags, Wheelchair Overalls, etc. These smaller Assistive Devices which can assist you with daily tasks such as getting dressed, writing, eating, preparing meals, drinking, etc. can also be known as “Accessories”. Healthcare accessories also fall under this Assistive Devices category and include products such as Medication, Catheters, Urine Bags, Nappies, Hygiene Products, etc

I have used more than 10 wheelchairs [assistive devices ] since my injury some i purchased with my own funds whiles others were donated by non profit organisations /friends .i remember an instance my wheelchair was beyond repairs and i couldn’t replace it at that time,i remember staying in bed for more than 2 weeks until my family was able to get me a new wheelchair. i have had so many instances that my chair gets broken and cannot be fixed and i will be in bed for days /weeks.

wheelchairs are a luxury in africa ,  the prohibitive cost of assistive devices For those of us with spinal cord injuries, mobility aids like wheelchairs and mobility scooters are essential for our independence. However, these devices come with a hefty price tag, making them inaccessible to many.

Consider the case of a standard manual wheelchair, which can cost between $200 to $1,000 or even more, depending on the quality and features. For many of us, this is a substantial sum, and even if we could afford it, finding jobs to sustain ourselves is another uphill battle.

Several nonprofits try helping people with disabilities in Nigeria/worldwide, including those with spinal cord injuries. These organizations often rely on donations and funding to provide assistive devices to those in need. However, limited funds, make some nonprofits opt for cheaper, subpar devices.These budget-friendly wheelchairs may seem like a quick solution, but they often break down or become unusable shortly after distribution. As a result, they leave us with even more challenges, and we’re back to square one.Picture below

People with spinal cord injuries are among the most vulnerable in the community of persons with disabilities. not only do we face mobility challenges ,we often require additional medical support, like catheters or pressure relief cushions, which further drive up the cost of living with a disability for us.

I believe that change is possible, and I am determined to be a part of that change.This is why i started Spinal Cord Injuries and Africa Association Network (SCIAAN) to address the pressing needs of individuals with spinal cord injuries in Africa.Our mission is Empowering and supporting people with spinal cord injury living in Africa with information, resources, and networking.

I am passionate about helping people with spinal cord injuries in Africa live full and independent lives. I believe that everyone has the right to access the assistive devices they need to thrive.

How you can help

We need your support to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities in Africa, especially those living with spinal cord injuries.

Financial contributions are vital for us to purchase high-quality assistive devices that can truly transform can also donate wheelchairs ,catheters,urine bags ,any assistive devices that can help sci survivors/Pwds

If you represent an organization, consider partnering with SCIAAN to amplify our impact and reach more individuals in need.

Your time and expertise can make a significant difference in our organization’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Advocate for policies that support people with disabilities/spinal cord injuries in Africa. Share our mission and what we do with your friends, family, and social networks. Awareness is a powerful tool in driving change.

If you are interested in collaborating with Sciaan to help provide assistive devices to people with disabilities in Africa, please contact us on any of our social media platforms Facebook:Sciaanetwork , Instagram sciaanetwork,Tiktok sciaanetwork

The lack of a wheelchair can have profound physical, emotional, and social consequences for a wheelchair user.

Wheelchairs provide mobility and independence to us.Without one, we become entirely dependent on others for basic tasks like moving from place to place and accessing facilities like going to the bathroom.

Lack of a wheelchair can lead to a decline in physical health. Immobility can result in muscle atrophy, joint contractures, and other secondary health issues, potentially leading to further complications.

The inability to move independently can lead to social isolation and depression. Lack of a wheelchair makes us hesitant to engage in social activities, leading to feelings of loneliness and a decreased quality of life.

Without a wheelchair, it can be challenging for us to attend school or access employment opportunities. This lack of education and employment can perpetuate a cycle of poverty and dependency on us.

Lack of mobility makes us more vulnerable to accidents and emergencies. Evacuation during disasters or fires becomes extremely difficult, putting our safety at risk.

Prolonged periods of immobility due to the absence of a wheelchair can lead to having pressure sores, which are painful and can become infected. These sores can be challenging to treat and may require hospitalization.

Lack of a wheelchair can limit participation in daily activities like grocery shopping, going out, or attending family gatherings. This can lead to feelings of exclusion and frustration.

People with disabilities in Africa face many challenges, but they are also resilient and resourceful. With your help, we can make a difference . It’s essential to recognize the critical role that wheelchairs play in the lives of people living with disabilities /spinal cord injuries and the far-reaching impact of their absence. Access to appropriate assistive devices is crucial to ensuring the well-being and inclusion of sci survivors in our society.

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