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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 161-167

Approaches to tackling the menace of street begging by visually disabled persons in Northern Nigeria

1 Department of Ophthalmology, Federal Medical Centre, Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State, Nigeria
2 Department of Ophthalmology, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Aliyu H Balarabe
Department of Ophthalmology, Federal Medical Centre, Birnin Kebbi, P.M.B. 1126, Kebbi State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2384-5147.144721

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Street begging is a social challenge that is more rampant in Northern Nigeria than elsewhere in the country. Some poor individuals resort to street begging to sustain their families. Street begging is found more among people living with physical challenges, particularly the blind persons. We reviewed the literature on the causes of blindness and challenges to accessing curative and rehabilitation support services. This is with a view to draw the attention of policy formulators on the appropriate rehabilitation of the visually disabled persons in order to tackle the menace of street begging in Northern Nigeria. A review of the literature was done electronically as well as manually. For electronic search, various scientific journals and web-based search engines were used. The search terms were blind street beggars, visual disability among beggars, avoidable blindness, blindness in northern Nigeria, socioeconomic impact of blindness, psychosocial impact of blindness, challenges of rehabilitation in Nigeria, visual disability in Northern Nigeria, destitution in Nigeria. Cross references of relevant articles were also retrieved. Majority had blindness from avoidable causes (over 75%) and had difficulty in accessing curative and rehabilitation support services. In the light of the avoidable nature of the majority of the causes of blindness among blind beggars in Northern Nigeria, coupled with the existing inadequate modalities for rehabilitating incurably blind, it is recommended that, a comprehensive eye care program on preventive, curative and rehabilitative services with a strong public health education campaign on the avoidable causes of blindness and discouraging street begging should be put in place by relevant stakeholders.

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