By Ezra Ukanwa – Abuja
Says FG must step-up
A Group, Ferdinand Effah Music Heritage Foundation, FEMF, on Tuesday, awarded a cash price of N100, 000 to parents with an autistic child, stating that the Federal Government, FG, must step-up on its role in addressing issues bothering autism in Nigeria.
The Founder, FEMF, Stanley Effah, made the disclosure while presenting the award to the father of the child with autism, Mr. Emmanuel Idowu, in Abuja.
According to him, in Nigeria today, severally there has been lip service in terms of how we have been able to think about increasing public awareness and perception as far as the challenges of autism are concerned, not only in Nigeria but the region of Africa and that has been a hindrance to some extent in terms of how public perceive people, individuals and family which in a way has hindered inclusiveness and supportive care to families affected by autism.
“The purpose of this foundation which you are witness to the launch of this foundation with the objective of seeing how we can help families in leveraging the challenges to this particular syndrome Autism.
“Awareness being a critical factor has made it a difficult task for parents and families because even policymakers, several other stakeholders have not come to terms really in understanding what challenges the families go through.
“In other words, the theme for this year’s autism day, which is on inclusiveness, is far from reaching inclusiveness in terms of how you can get the real care and support and how you can come to the care of family.
“On Social health insurance is the idea of ensuring that we avoid out of pocket payments. Now, the new National Health Act of NHI is open and wide enough that coverage for the whole Nigerians but we will not sit back and just wait. We must involve policymakers and we must influence in a way that autism is fully taken care of.”
On her part, the Mother of the child, Mrs Idowu, while commending the foundation, narrated that: “There was a day one Barr. Adeniyi came to my house and he said he had same issues with me.
“There was a day he met me outside and tried to show me what Ferdinand had started doing so along the line we started talking and somehow, yourself and my husband through God connected.
“But, the day we launched that Ferdinand Foundation, it was that day that I got relived because I looked at it and said why me? I said God, I had three children, why did I go and say another children and at the end of the day they came and they were twins.
“I asked questions but no answers. I wondered if two of them were autistic what would I have done but it was one. They came from the same womb, the same day but it was only one. I thank God that this foundation came into our live because we have been looking for help for a very long time.”