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Some medical experts in Abia have called for the domestication of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018 by the states.
They also called for the domestication of the Child Rights Act, saying that both legislation would help to protect children with cerebral palsy and other forms of disabilities.
The experts made the call during a boot-camp for children with cerebral palsy at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia.
The National Daily reports that the event was organised by the Straight Child Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) with focus on children living with disabilities, especially cerebral palsy and clubfoot.
Dr Peace Amaraegbulam, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon with FMC, urged state governments to domestic the laws to stop the discrimination against children with such disabilities.
Amaraegbulam, who is the Chairman of the NGO, regretted that the children suffer abandonement even by their parents, especially when they could not cater for them financially.
She urged the government to provide basic amenities for children with disabilities, saying that these would go a long way in taking care of them.
The orthopaedic surgeon further solicited government’s support for a venue or space to begin a special care centre for the children.
“Providing the services will be easier for us,” Amaraegbulam said.
Also, Dr Uchenna Oluwatosin, the Head of Department of Physiotherapy at the hospital, called for the implementation of the disability law.
She expressed the hope that the measure would help the children a lot.
Oluwatosin, who is the Team Lead of the foundation, said the implementation of the laws would also make access to the children easier.
She said: “Their health care and educational needs will be met because most of the time we have issues with their education.
“Regular schools discriminate against them, so if there is an avenue for inclusive education it will help to horn their skills.
“If government can make it easy for them to interact with society and also educate the public that it is not transmittable, it will help a lot.”
A speech therapist, Mr Bidemi Jaiyesimi, also urged government’s support for NGOs, specialist and private centres that handle children with special needs.
According to him, it will help to create more awareness about children with cerebral palsy and other neurological challenges.
In a lecture on cerebral palsy and nutrition, Mrs Uchechi Azubuike, said that feeding difficulties in the children could arise as a result of the lack of appetite and depression, amongst other factors.
Azubuike, Director, Dietics and Nutrition at the centre, said that dieticians caring for children with crebral palsy had a responsibility to assess, reassess and sometimes intervene to help each child maintain optimal growth.
Health care personnel from different specialties took time to engage the children in some interaction and assessment.
A major highlight of the event was the presentation of mobility aids by the foundation to the children.