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NGO Tasks Policy Makers on Protection of Children with Disabilities

Save the Children International (SCI) Nigeria, today Wednesday called on policy makers to take concrete steps to protect children with disabilities.

Mercy Gichuhi, the Country Director, SCI, said in a statement in Abuja that it was necessary to beam the searchlight on the plight of such children.

Gichuhi said the “Global Disability Summit’’ slated to hold from Feb. 16 to Feb. 17 was intended to raise global attention and focus on neglected areas among others.

She also said that it was intended to address inclusive sustainable development as well as strengthen the capacity of organisations.

Gichuhi urged stakeholders at all levels, including the federal, state, and local governments to create a conducive and inclusive environment for children with disabilities.

Quoting from the UNFPA 2021 World Population Dashboard, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Bank report on disability, she said “Nigeria is home to an estimated 32 million people with disabilities, most of whom are children.

“They face different types of discrimination and have limited access to basic social services like health and education facilities”

“The current status quo reveals that an estimated 95.5 per cent of children with disabilities in Nigeria are out of school”

“They have low knowledge of sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) issues, including HIV/AIDS due to inaccessible SRH/HIV communication-information tools.’’

According to Gichuhi , children, girls and women with disabilities are the most affected and disadvantaged in times of disaster, armed conflicts, or humanitarian crisis.

She said that they were often in neglected parts of communities during recovery and response programmes.

Gichuhi said community development would be incomplete if it did not include and address the rights and special needs of people with disabilities.

“Therefore, I would like to call upon development actors, donors, the private sector, states, and governments to deliberately take into account disability inclusion and rights in humanitarian and development planning, financing, and implementation,’’ she said.

Gichuhi also called on the government to design programmes on health, education and livelihoods that were more inclusive and conducive in a bid to curb the discrimination faced by children with disabilities, especially the girl-child.(NAN)

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