Chioma Obinna & Princewill Ekwujuru
Under its â€˜Support for Healthâ€™ CSR framework, Guaranty Trust Bank in recent times has been supporting Autism related interventions and initiatives in Nigeria.
This has seen the Bank partner with various bodies and institutions including the National Society for Autism in Nigeria, Zamarr Institute for Autism and the Patrick Speech and Languages Special Education centre to promote Autism awareness through several publicity campaigns amongst other initiatives
Speaking on the importance of the Autism Initiatives being sponsored by the Bank, Lola Odedina, Deputy General Manager and Head, Communication & External Affairs group, GTBank said that the major challenge facing Nigeriaâ€™s management of Autism is the prevalent ignorance amongst the Nigerian populace and thus, the Bank is poised to support interventions geared at ensuring greater access to information and also, provision of an enabling environment for the efficient management of Autism in Nigeria. Furthermore, she said this was the rationale behind the Bank supporting the publication of 1st ever Autism Information handbook for Nigeria
Recently, a stakeholdersâ€™ conference sponsored by the Bank was also held in which various stakeholders representing policy makers, development bodies and non-governmental organizations met to chart a path for the development of the first National Autism strategy and one of the outcomes of that meeting was the commitment of the MDG office to support the National Society for Autism upon the development of the national strategy
Autism, which is a social health challenge affecting the behaviour, language and communication skills of those affected is not disease but a challenge and is on the increase in Nigeria affecting 1 out of every 110 newborns worldwide. Guaranty Trust Bank has been in the forefront of championing social causes related to the developmentally challenged some of which include its support for Special Olympics Nigeria, Support for Autism initiatives and a host of other health and child care related interventions.