Vice President (VP), Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has called for a change of mind set among state governments, the private sector and civil society organisations about disability and its management in Nigeria.
Osinbajo made the call at a Public Lecture organised by Benola, a Cerebral Palsy (CP)Initiative, held on Friday in Lagos.
The lecture was organised to commemorate this year’s World Cerebral Palsy (WCP) Day marked, held annually on Oct. 6.
Represented by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, the VP urged all relevant stakeholders to collaborate with the federal government to bring about the desired change in the mind sets about disability.
“I see WCP day as a historic opportunity for organisations to collaborate in order to catalyse disability inclusion into the national development agenda in line with global best practices for sustainable development.
“The commemoration of the WCP Day 2017 therefore, specifically provides a very unique platform for Nigeria to reflect on at least six of the identified areas in addressing the theme.
“These include, but are not limited to public awareness, civil rights, medical or therapeutic, quality of life and education.
“Nigeria endorses the idea of WCP day and will commence the process of putting our weight solidly behind the call for a formal declaration of such a day at the United Nation, “ he said.
The VP said that there were several efforts at advancing the welfare and rights of persons with disability (PWDs) in the country.
According to him, these efforts are through legal policy and programme initiatives.
“Significantly, there are engagements at sectors specific levels such as in education with inclusive education policy and in health, to draft the national policy on sexual reproductive health for women and girls with disability.
“We also have the national rehabilitation policy, for which a review has been advocated to encompass the challenges and aspirations of PWDs along with their families,” he said.
Osinbajo said, however, that there were still no policy and programming framework that addressed the needs and development of People Living with cerebral palsy
According to him, it is estimated globally that over 17 million people are living with the disease.
“In Nigeria, it is estimated there are over 700,000 persons living with cerebral palsy with as many as 14 million others who are affected.
“I am delighted to join Benola, a cerebral palsy initiative and one that is committed to change and progress of people living with cerebral palsy.
“An initiative striving for their inclusion in the society in order to ensure that they and those who care for them live the possible best life under the peculiar circumstances in which they find themselves, ” he said.
In his remarks, the Founder, Benola, Mr Femi Gbadebo, urged parents to have a positive mind set about their wards who are affected by the disorder.
“Parents should not see cerebral palsy as a problem, but they should first of all accept their wards and rise up to the challenge by supporting them,” he said.