Group exhorts govt. to handle plight of children with disabilities

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A Non-Government Organisation (NGO), Women with Disability Integrity and Development Initiative (WDIDI) in Bauchi State, has urged government to address the plight of children with disabilities, especially in education and healthcare services.

The Executive Director of the group, Hajiya Asmau Yahaya, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Bauchi.

She also urged the Federal Government and state governments to consider putting more
efforts to giving equal rights to education and healthcare services to children
with disabilities.

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She said “a large number of children are living with disabilities; they are the most marginalised and excluded group of children.

“They are often overlooked in humanitarian action due to limited resources, and most of them do not go to school.”

Yahaya added that even when children with disabilities are enrolled in school, they are often excluded from learning as the curriculum is not adapted to their needs.

She explained that “the teachers do not have the training or time to provide individualised support and learning assistance to such category of children.”

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The executive director stressed that access to healthcare is a fundamental human right, but children with disabilities generally experience greater barriers in accessing healthcare services than the general population.

She said “understanding health facility access for People With Disabilities (PWDs) is particularly important as such knowledge can inform policies, clinical practice and government future plans.’’

Yahaya, however, urged government to identify inaccessible school buildings and facilities such as toilets as the main reason why children with disabilities are not enrolled in primary schools.

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She called on government to build new special schools or renovate existing ones to make them accessible to children with disabilities.

She said government should also address the attitudinal barrier children with disabilities face and develop communication strategies on awareness and sensitisation of parents, education stakeholders and communities about the value of educating children with disabilities.

She advocated for policies that would lead to equitable access to healthcare and the need to provide in-service training to healthcare providers on how to enhance communication skills with persons with disabilities.

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