By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.
Chairperson of the Association of Medical Social Workers of Nigeria (AMSWON), Oyo State chapter Mrs. Temilola Umar friday advocated the creation of department of Social Work at the Federal Ministry of Health.
Mrs Umar made the call while speaking at the donation of a trolley for the up keep of patients of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan by the association to mark the Social Work Day.
The AMSWON Chairperson declared that “Social Work is not new in Nigeria, the Department of Social Work started at UCH in 1957 as the first 11 departments in the hospital.
“I am also appealing to the government to create a department of Social Work at the Federal Ministry of Health because there are many problems that does not require drugs but psycho social solutions. We have nursing department and others and we are also stakeholders in the health sector,”she said.
Mrs Umar lamented further “Let us look at the disabled, the Social Workers that suppose to fight for them, our bill is still pending in the National Assembly, that is why we are soliciting for the support of all well meaning Nigerians for the quick passage of the Social Work Bill which has passed through the second reading”.
“We are joining Social Workers across the world to celebrate Social Work Day, we are also using this medium to appeal to the government to recognize Social Workers by passing our Social Work Bill. Nigerian government should be aware that there are people called Social Workers who can provide Social solutions to array of Social problems we have in the country”.
Speaking further,the AMSWON Chairperson called for abolition and eradication of all forms of stigmatization and discrimination against ex-convicts, disables and physically challenged persons in the country.
On the donation, Mrs Umar said it was parts of the contributions of the association to put smiles on the faces of the needy.
She maintained that the importance of the World Social Work Day with the theme “Promoting the Dignity and Worth of People” was to upgrade the status of people especially the stigmatized, adding that it was unfortunate that Nigerians recognized people based on their physical appearances and not what they can offer.
“Many people don’t want to associate with ex-convicts, they don’t want to employ disable people because they are looking at containers and not the content. It is high time we look at the content, we must respect the dignity of persons across the country, that is why we don’t generalize in Social Work, we use our professional ethics to treat patients based on their uniqueness and we emphatized and not sympathize.
Chairman of UCH Medical Advisory Committee of the hospital, Dr. Adefemi Afolabi who received the gifts on behalf of the CMD, Professor Temitope Alonge lauded the association for the donation.