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Increase commitment to children, Lagos Governor urges parents, medical practitioners

Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor, on Social Development Mrs. Joyce Onafowokan delivering the governor’s message at the event.

The Lagos State governor, Akinwumi Ambode has enjoined the healthcare practitioners, parents, and guidance to live up to their responsibilities of monitoring and observing children in order to detect issues in their body or anything that could suggest medical challenge.

Increased commitment through continuous developmental assessment pertaining the age of a child’s life particularly between the ages 0-3 according to the governor would improve the chances of early detection, intervention and ultimately reduce the prevalence disability in our society.

Speaking at a stakeholder’s summit in Lagos yesterday with a theme: ’Ability in disability: A Stitch in Time Saves Nine,’ the governor who was represented by the deputy, said the concept of early intervention is preferably based on early identification and treatment of children who have established diagnosis such as cerebral palsy, down syndrome, autism or those who are at risk due to environmental factors such as malnutrition, poverty and rest.

He noted that higher percentage of a child’s brain is developed at age three; he therefore urged the medical doctors as well as the parents to be mindful of this. “Early intervention will afford us the opportunity to do whatever it is necessary medically to salvage the situation and avoid the worst possibility that may occur if neglected.

According to him, the summit is part of the state government’s effort to promote awareness for early intervention for children living with disability or at risk of disability and its associated challenges.

“This initiative is therefore targeted primarily at parents who are the first point of contact to the children; who are in the best position to identify issues that might affect the proper development of their children.

He also pointed that the summit will go a long way in helping parents to be more proactively in seeking medical attention to avoid later complications in life. He also said the persons with disability do not need our pity hence it won’t change their condition.

He said being able to show their ability and help them value it will help them define their identities around that which they can do best and by doing this, they will be able to contribute their quota to the development of our nation.

Some participants at the summit

In her welcome address, Special Adviser to the Governor on Social Development Mrs. Joyce Onafowokan, implored the parents to move from reject challenges in Jesus name or any name at all or prayers and fasting alone and visit professionals for children’s own good.

“It is imperative that parents, corporate bodies, organizations and individuals partner with us in our quest to make life more meaningful for our children. Parents, others we want to know how we can collectively in partnership better the lives of our children especially the vulnerable ones,” she charged.

In his keynote address, Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan and President, Speech Pathology and Audiology Association of Nigeria SPAAN, Prof. Julius Ademokoya identified issues that deserve early detection as those who might have visual impairment of palsy, hearing impairment, mental retardation, intellectual disability, those who have chronic health and physical impairment, autism spectrum disorder; the learning disability.

“We have those with multiple disabilities. Most of the time, we pay attention to single disability but it is not so. It is very common to see somebody with both ear and visual problem,” he emphasized.

He also said some children don’t have physical/visible disability yet they are not doing well, that such kids need early intervention together with gifted and talented children too.

Prof. Ademokoya said there is need to make sure that early interventions are affected as early as possible to reduce the effect of disability; to correct and to rehabilitate the children,” he said.

He maintained that there is ability in any disability and therefore tasked people not to condemn a child because of disability. “There are individuals who because of early intervention overcame disability and eventually went on to make it in life,” he noted with examples.

Speaking on behalf of the Honourable Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, Chief Medical Director of Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode said in some cases, ordinary scan sometimes, picks up this things early. “Some other conditions may be diagnosed as soon as the baby is born. What we are saying today is that let the doctors, nurses, medical personnel know what to look for and pick them up very early because many babies dies without being recognized or were presented too late because they were not recorgnised in the first few hours/days of birth.

“Education of health personnel must continue. Even the parents should also know about these things these days. They should know what facilities available. Pregnant women should see

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