Our Pet Project Awareness

The home is located at 8, Makanjuola Close, Paiko Idimu, Alimosho LGA, Lagos.

It is founded about 10years by Pastor Samson OKoliko and his wife. It also has a branch in Abuja to cater for infants and children between 10-0years old. The Abuja home has about twenty (20) children while the Lagos home has over sixty (60) children (male & female) with about ten-twelve (10-12) caregivers.

The children have different medical conditions such as: Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, Autism, Physically challenged, mental ailments, Spinal cord disabilities, Deaf- &- Dumb, stunted growth, etc. The home facility is a rented building and they are presently finding it challenging to pay for the accommodation bills, school fees for a few of the children in secondary school (private school), regular, beds, mattresses, school books, study materials/boards, etc.

Our NGO “One Child, One Care Initiative” has been in partnership with the orphanage to seek for assistance and support for the children in the home. We have been supporting the home based on donations raised during various programmes organized for the home.

 

Our source of support has been from friends, families and small corporate companies from December, 2012 till date.

We recently had the “Medical Love Outreach” for the home in February, 2014 for medical checkup and consultations for the children. We had the privilege of three (3) selfless doctors who volunteered to participate in this freewill event. The report from the medical visit shows that some of the children need medical surgeries, medical extensive tests, daily medications and monitoring.

We also discovered special talents among the children and we are in the quest to help enhance and empowerment them in making use of their gifts and giving them the second opportunity in life. Therefore, the need for continued support in education (formal & informal), welfare and medical for the children

New resource centre opens for down syndrome children

By Chioma Obinna
Another Children’s Day had come and gone with fanfare but what impact has it had on the children particularly those with various forms of disabilities? Statistics available shows that these children represent 42 percent of the total population of the country and unfortunately 70 percent of them live below poverty line. These groups of the country are seen hawking on major highways across the nation under the very eyes of those who are supposed to protect them. They undergo rigorous activities to survive, unfortunately, many of these children are often abused in the process. Worse still, little or no attention is paid to a cross section of these children. Only two years ago, the United Nations found that 10 million Nigerian children are out of school. Critical observers are also worried that nothing is yet to be done about this situation. Unfortunately, with these children out of school and many more living with disabilities without early intervention to integrate them into the society, concerned Nigerians say the situation could be capable of endangering our democracy. More worrisome is that those who are supposed to reverse the trend are still paying lip service to issues concerning children. Although, 21 States have fully enacted child rights laws and another three have passed them but are awaiting their Governors’ assent, nothing is being done as it relates implementation of these rights. These rights, which include right to health, have been clearly outlined both in the convention on the rights of the child ratified by the Federal government in 1991 and the Child’s Rights Act 2003. However, many organisations had held parties and lectures to mark this Day. But one which is worthy of mentioning is the establishment of a resource centre for children with health conditions such as Down Syndrome and others. The Centre, located at the heart of Surulere Area of Lagos, was established by the Down Syndrome Association of Nigeria, DSAN. which has metamorphosed to Down Syndrome Foundation of Nigeria. The Centre, which was commissioned by the First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola on Children’s Day is specifically for both educational and medical intervention for children living with various disabilities, particularly Down Syndrome. The Centre, according to the officials of the Foundation would go a long way to demystify the genetic challenge which was synonymous with the derogatory terms such as imbecile, fools, idiots commonly used to describe persons with Down Syndrome or other forms of learning disability. The new resource centre, has specialised equipment, boarding facilities and vocational training for the children in order to make them more useful to the society and lend their hands in the desired change the county needs. During the commissioning Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Youths and Social development, Dr. Dolapo Badru who reminded the audience the great task of dealing with conditions that are mostly attached to superstitious beliefs called for proper awareness of the condition as many of these children are locked up for life. Badru called on corporate organisations to invest more on the children adding that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) should not be seen as only taking some children off the street but think of those with various disabilities. “There is so much communication gaps between challenged and corporate organisations. many of them believe to put down there money in something that will get them something in return.” Speaking to Good Health Weekly, Founder of the Centre, Mrs. Rose Mordi who disclosed that Centre currently have about 56 out which 18 are residents said DSAN was metamorphosed to a Foundation in order to deal with the growing needs and challenges the association had been faced with over the years. Mordi further explained that the Centre started out as a family support group whereby parents with children with DS came together to share their experiences and challenges encountered in bringing up their DS children which came in the form of family accusations and awful religious and traditional beliefs; stigmatisation, health challenges the children exhibit and also the need to know the best way of training them up to live a normal life. “The health challenges posed by some of the children who had heart defects, the association, in collaboration with the Kanu Heart Foundation (KHF) sent the first child to India for corrective heart surgery in 2004. After the successful surgery, the next set of DS children with heart defects arrived and before all the protocols could be done, two of the babies passed away. The deaths raised a serious challenge for the association. The Resource Centre at Ogunlana Drive kept increasing with more pupils and students that the two- room apartment could not longer serve the number of students registered with the association; about 56 children were registered at that time but due to the space constraint, most of them who their parents wanted to stay in a boarding arrangement had to withdraw their wards though many of them were from indigent families. In 2007, the Save a Life Project was relaunch when a 14-month-old baby, Andrew Duku, came all the way from Bayelsa State to seek medical intervention as he was diagnosed with a hole in the heart. The association took the responsibility and raised the funds needs for the corrective heart surgery and Baby Andrew left the shores of the country in March 2008 and had a successful heart surgery at the Narayan Hrudayalaya Institute of Cardiac Sciences in Bangalore, India. Baby Andrew’s success story became a catalyst that within a short time, Baby Victoria and Baby Josephine came calling. No sooner had DSAN arranged for their surgeries that for the first time, five babies came in for medical intervention. At this time, it was becoming almost herculean for the association to be functioning as a resource place where families come for advice and training on taking care of their DS children and wards and also delivering medical intervention. Though there were corporate organisations that were partners with the association, the bulk of funds meant for the running of the association were used to give these children with heart defects a new lease on life. “It was then obvious that the association needed to move to the next level. Series of consultations were embarked upon with partners both within and outside the country and advice sought from other DS organisations that the association was affiliated to all over the world and the need of upgrading into a foundation was inevitable.” The Association has successfully established DS resource centres in Calabar in Cross River State; Abuja and is making effort to start one in Kaduna. “Being the only charity that takes care specifically of people with DS, the challenge was enormous.

Credit to Vanguard News Nigeria

Caring For Down Syndrome Victims

It is a painful thing for a child’s right to life to be decided ever before his arrival on earth. This, of course, is the plight of children with Down syndrome ailment. Available statistics show that the estimated incidence of Down syndrome is between 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,100 live births worldwide. The origin of Down syndrome can be traced to John Langdon Down, an English physician that first described the external appearance of the genetic condition, which he classified in 1862. It was later to bear his name, “Down”. He also referred to it as Mongolism and the people with the disease are known as Mongoloids.

In Nigeria, it has been discovered that the disease is prevalent because of the increasing maternal age at which more women in Nigeria now conceive. This follows the increasing strong desire to complete formal education before conception and the rising incidence of infertility. But this claim has been faulted, as it has recently been observed that 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to mothers under the age of 35.

Scientifically, Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21, referred to as Trisomy 21, which remains the most common form of Down syndrome. Therefore, individuals with this type of Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. This is caused by an error in cell division called non-disjunction, which leaves a sperm or egg cell with an extra copy of chromosome 21 before or at conception. Trisomy 21 accounts for 95% of Down syndrome cases, with 88% originating from non-disjunction of the mother’s egg cell. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with the disorder. Usually, it is always difficult to differentiate people with Down syndrome if a large number of them converge in the same venue due to the physical characteristics they share.

The remaining 5% of Down syndrome cases are due to conditions called mosaicism and translocation. Mosaic Down syndrome results when some cells in the body are normal while others have Trisomy 21. Robertsonian translocation occurs when part of chromosome 21 breaks off during cell division and attaches to another chromosome (usually chromosome 14). The presence of this extra part of chromosome 21 causes some Down syndrome characteristics. Although a person with a translocation may appear physically normal, he or she has a greater risk of producing a child with an extra 21st chromosome.

Down syndrome is not linked to race, nationality, religion and social or economic status. In addition to other traits unique to individuals with this disorder, a few of the common traits are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the centre of the palm. In essence, it causes delays in physical and intellectual development. It is important to note that people with Down syndrome may possess these characteristics to different degrees according to the form as mentioned earlier.

In order to ascertain the possibility of giving birth to babies with Down syndrome, during the pre-natal period, two types of procedures are available to pregnant women: screening tests and diagnostic tests. The screening tests estimate the risk of the baby having Down syndrome while the Diagnostic tests tell whether or not the baby actually has Down syndrome. The most commonly used screening test is “The Triple Screen”, a combination of three tests that measure quantities of various substances in the blood. These tests are carried out between 15 and 20 weeks of gestation. In conjunction with other screenings, sonogram, a form of ultrasound is performed to show some physical traits that are helpful in calculating the risk of Down syndrome.

However, it is usually identified at birth or shortly thereafter by conducting a Karyotype test, a chromosome study which provides a visual display of the chromosomes grouped by their size, number and shape is used to determine if a child has the disorder or otherwise. This is carried out through the examination of blood or tissue cells of the baby. The aforementioned Physical characteristics commonly seen in babies with this disorder are also used in the diagnosis after the birth of the baby.

Aside from both children and adults with Down syndrome experiencing developmental delays and mild to moderate impairments, many children with Down syndrome have health complications beyond the usual childhood illnesses. Approximately 40% of the children have congenital heart defects; therefore, it is very important that an echocardiogram be performed on all newborns with Down syndrome in order to identify any serious cardiac problems that might be present. While some of the heart conditions require surgery, others only require careful monitoring. Children with Down syndrome have a higher incidence of infection, respiratory, vision and hearing problems as well as thyroid and other medical conditions.

Caring for people with Down syndrome can be frustrating and fraught with challenges as most of them permanently depend on others to lead their lives. And it is not uncommon for people in their immediate environment to exhibit negative attitudes in form of discrimination and exclusion towards them. Consequently, children and adults with Down syndrome cannot integrate successfully with their peers. But it should be noted that they also have many talents and gifts and should be given the opportunity and encouragement to develop them.

Therefore, in order to tap into the full potential inherent in victims of Down syndrome, early intervention services should be provided shortly after birth. These services should include physical, speech and developmental therapies. While most children attend their neighborhood schools, some in regular classes and others in special education classes, some children with the disease have more significant needs and require a more specialized programme. Some high school graduates with Down syndrome participate in post-secondary education and many adults with Down syndrome are capable of working in the community, but some require a more structured environment.

To overcome the health challenges being faced by these special people, appropriate medical care should be provided for them to lead healthy lives. If given adequate care, the average life expectancy of individuals with Down syndrome is 55 years, with many living into their sixties and seventies.

Government, individuals and non-governmental organizations should rally support for parents and people with this disorder in order to properly integrate them into their respective communities and for them to enjoy full and equal rights, both as children and adults.

—Bakare is of the Features Unit, Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.

Credit PM News Nigeria

Addressing The Problems Of Street Children In Nigeria

 Obike Ukoh

Nigerian Forum on Rehabilitation of Street Children, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), recently claimed that no fewer than 13 million children across the country live and survive on the streets.
The organisation called on policy makers, other non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders, to urgently formulate a national policy on street children.
In the same vein, concerned citizens express concern about the rising number of street children and its implications, observing that Nigeria is one of the countries with large number of street children.
Street children are the children who experience homelessness and, therefore, live on the streets of a city, town or village.
Sociologists opine that children rove the streets for a number of reasons including family instability and poverty.
Worried about the rising number of street children in the country, stakeholders at a recent conference in Abuja, therefore, proffered solutions on how to solve the challenge.
According to them, since street children are not the cause of their problems, the government ought to address the problem.
They observed that the conference with its theme as: “The Plights of Street Children in Nigeria’’, presented a platform for effective collaboration with states on the need to address the problem.
In the light of this, Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, said that the House Committee on Women Affairs and Social Development would address the problems through appropriate intervention.
Represented by Rep. Stella Ngwu, the Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs and Social Development, he assured the stakeholders that the house would provide legislative framework that would discourage activities that result in having street children.
She said that her committee would soon engage chairmen of women affairs and social development committees in the houses of assembly across the country to work out modalities for domestication of the Child Rights Act.
Rep. Ngwu said that her committee was partnering a gender-based NGO — Women’s Aid Collective — to drive the implementation of the Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Act and the Child Rights Act.
Also, Hajia Aisha Alhassan, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, said her ministry would collaborate with relevant stakeholders to reduce the number of street children.
According to her, the ministry will also work towards eliminating destitute and child abandonment by strengthening child justice administration and make child care issues a priority of government.
Represented by Mrs Georgette Azuogu, Director, Child Development Department in the ministry, she explained that the ministry would provide policy direction and ensure adequate implementation of the existing policies such as the Child Rights Act, National Priority Agenda and the National Response on Violence Against Children.
In his view, Sen. Magnus Abe, opined that the issue should be taken beyond the domestication of the Act to proper action, insisting that without a law, Nigerians knew what was good for the children.
“The focus on which states have passed and which states have not domesticated the Child Rights Act is important, but not the most important issue in dealing with rights of children in this country.
“I think the first thing is for the nationals where the law has been passed and states that have domesticated the law to begin proper implementation of the law so that it begins to have positive effects on the lives of the children.
“Currently, there is no real difference in the lives of children in the states that have passed the law and those that have not passed it,’’ he observed.
Chief Ikechukwu Nwonu, the National Coordinator of Iykon Global Foundation, organisers of the programme, said the aim of the conference was to sensitise governments, care givers and stakeholders on the need to evolve a national policy on reclaiming and rehabilitating street children.
He said the foundation would partner state governments to establish reclamation centre for street children across the country.
He pointed out that the foundation would soon ascertain the number of street children state by state through a nation-wide survey.
“We are targeting two categories of street children; those who are on the street but might have very poor parents and go home after their vending for the day and those children who don’t have parents and even where to go after vending.
“So, we intend to reclaim them, cater and rehabilitate them. But you know as NGO we have our limitations; ours is to facilitate and drive the process. We expect state governments to get well involved.
“We are also working out how to get the reclaimed children properly engaged in agricultural activities,’’ he said.
In his paper entitled: “The vulnerability of street children and its effects on national development’’, Prof. Franklin Nwagbara, stressed the need to address the problems of street children.
“The human race, especially Nigerians, should see that street children did not choose to live and fend for themselves on the streets, rather circumstances have handed them this inhumane life experience.
“Children living and/or working in the streets cannot be considered as a social problem, but instead as human beings with full potential to contribute to society and as positive agents for change.’’
“Every child is entitled to a meaningful childhood. Sadly, many children do not have that opportunity.
“On the streets, children lose their rights to emotional, physical and social development; they lack quality healthcare, sound education and positive uplifting recreation.
“Without the security and comfort of a home, they are exposed to cruelty, abuse and exploitation,’’ he said.
Nwagbara said that Nigeria needed to do something urgently to tackle the challenges of street children, including those in Internally Displaced Persons camps due to insurgency in the north eastern part of the country.
He said the problem of street children could be addressed through correctional model, rehabilitation model, outreach strategy and preventive approach.
According to him, correctional model is primarily used by governments and the police, rehabilitation model supported by churches and NGOs, while outreach strategy is supported by street teachers, faith-based organisations and NGOs.
“They see street children as oppressed individuals and aim to empower them by providing outreach education and training to support the children.
“Preventive approach supported by NGOs, focuses on the problems that cause street children by targeting parents’ unemployment and campaign for children’s rights.
“The combination of the models and strategies will go a long way to reduce the high number of street children in the country,’’ he said.
By and large, participants at the conference observe that street children are not nuisance after all but victims of poverty, family instability and insurgency, among others.
They insist that the society owes it as a duty to provide and care for them to complement efforts of other stakeholders at addressing the problem of street children.(NANFeatures)

Credit to The Union Nigeria

EXPERTS SEEK SUPPORT FOR AUTISTIC CHILDREN IN NIGERIA

NO fewer than 1.2 million Nigerian children suffer Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a complex pervasive developmental disorder, still largely unknown in the country.

A team of experts from the United States (U.S.) said this at the weekend, in the light of global estimate that says prevalence rate is one in every 150 children worldwide.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates, relates with people around them and has difficulties with everyday social interaction.

Appearing in the first three years of life, experts said ASD causes disruption in the normal process of brain development and functionality. No one specific cause of ASD is yet known.

Speaking at the two-day Autism Spectrum Disorders Seminar organised by Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) in Lagos, Executive Director of Blazing Trails International Centre (BTIC) Autism Symposium Co-Developer, Dr. Anna Lamikanra, observed that there is severe lack of awareness and misconception about the ASD children.

This ultimately makes it difficult for these children to be integrated into the larger society, mostly as a result of social stigmatisation by family, friends and larger society.

She said: “These disorders, which are largely misunderstood by society, make it difficult for affected children to cope with the everyday demand of their environment and may lead to varying stages of social stigmatisation.

“An autistic child is not an imbecile neither is he or she just been naughty. It is not specific to any class, gender, race, religion or ethnic group, nor does it result from wrong parenting or lifestyle.”

Lamikanra noted that autism occurs more in males than females at a ratio of 4:1, accounting for about 11 per cent of global disease and is projected to reach 14.7 per cent by 2020, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Approximately, 67 million people worldwide are affected by autism, yet the condition is far from hopeless. “Autistic children have been known to become geniuses as adults with proper care, love and support.”

Apparently in agreement with Lamikanra, Dean, School of Applied Science, Thomas Edison State College, Trenton, New Jersey, Dr. Marcus Tillery, said that there is so much that can be done to bring the best out autistic children, using low to high contact and engagement techniques.

“It is all about engagement, to bring out the intelligence in them. We all must keep hope alive, say no to discrimination and stigmatisation of autistic children.”

The prevailing lack of societal awareness about these disorders in Nigeria and non-existence of training facilities for affected children influenced GTB to become an advocate for children living with developmental disabilities in 2006.

GTB Executive Director, Titi Osuntoki, said that the programme on ASD under the auspices of the Orange Ribbon initiative for children with special needs, is the culmination of years of working tirelessly towards promoting the cause of a much-neglected children, living with developmental disabilities.

“We have heard stories of people, who despite having this condition, have gone to become leaders in their various fields. We have also seen children with this conditions, rise above their perceived disabilities to become change agents in the society because they had access to proper facilities and care.”

She added that children with special needs deserve a chance to perform at their optimum and “we owe them that responsibility to provide equitable opportunities and support.”

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, commended the GTB initiative and reiterated the Lagos State government’s support and collaborative initiative for the affected children.

He identified that the Lagos State, on its part, has established six maternal and childcare centres as part of the first phase of providing care for mothers and children.

Credit to General NBF Topics Nigeria