The Ogun State Government again has reiterated its commitment to empower and provide support for people with special needs across the state, as a way of integrating them to the society.
The government through its Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, gave the assurance in her welcome address at the opening ceremony of a 4-Day capacity building programme for professionals of special needs schools, organized by wife of the governor, Bamidele Abiodun, in partnership with Jesse’s Place Foundation.
Dr. Coker revealed that the World Health Organisation disability report in 2011 put the number of Nigerians living with disabilities at approximately 25 million people, adding that the state government was aware of the need to care adequately for children and youths with special needs, in order for them to live a meaningful life.
“We are not oblivious of the fact that the responsibility of caring for individuals with special needs may sometimes be herculean with a huge impact on lifestyle, finances and emotional well being’’, she said.
The Commissioner said that the workshop marks the beginning of the government’s focus on the continual empowerment of persons with disabilities for the inclusive, equitable and sustainable development envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
While appreciating Mrs. Abiodun for facilitating the training, Dr. Coker expressed optimism that it would go a long way in creating a more inclusive, accessible, and discrimination-free society for persons with special needs.
In her remark, the Founder, Jesse’s Place Foundation, Mrs. Sola Ogunde, said Nigerians should begin to shift their attention to disabilities that were not visible, such as cerebral palsy and autism, saying that many people with such disabilities suffer isolation and consequently mental health problems.
She called on policymakers at all levels of governance in the country to facilitate quality livelihood for children and youths with special needs, adding that the society also has crucial roles to play.