The Federal Government on Wednesday said that it would partner with stakeholders, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and individuals to improve the health indices of Nigerian children born with birth defect.
Dr Sameuel Ankeli, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Disability Matters, disclosed this at the commemoration of the Maiden Edition of world Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day 2017 in Abuja.
According to him, the Federal Government is ready to partner with all stakeholders to support children with birth defect in order to mitigate and improve the quality of life of the Nigerian Child.
“The Federal Government is making relevant laws and policies that will enable persons and children with disabilities live productive and fulfilled lives.
“We and other stakeholders are presently putting pressure on the National Assembly to see that the bill that protects persons with disability is out, so that the President can assent to it then implementation will commence.
“This will help us acquire various equipment and materials for the health institutions that will enable these special children actualise their potential as well as ensure that their lives are protected and preserved.”
He encouraged mothers whose children have defects to remain strong, work with support groups and health professionals to fulfill the destiny of their children, adding that disability was not a choice of the child or the mother.
Also speaking, The Acting Director-General, National Population Commission (NPC), Dr Wakil Babagana, said that children with special needs were part of the entire population that requires special attention from the government.
Babagana, who was represented by Mrs Margret Edison, the Director, NPC, urged the government, society and immediate communities to ensure that the concerns of children with special needs were properly integrated.
He added that such concerns should be integrated into relevant and related policies, plans, programmes as well as to develop activities for them and their parents.
In the same vein, Mrs Olubunmi Lawal, the Founder Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Care Foundation (SBHCF), an NGO, called on government at all levels to provide free health care and education for children with special needs in the country.
She said such children were born with severe abnormalities that affect the brain and spinal cord and also children born without skull, limbs or deformed abdomen.
Lawal further pleaded with the government to prioritise the needs of persons and children with special needs by providing free health care and education to enable them live a productive live.