UNICEF: 600m Live with Disabilities

19 Jul 2013

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• Wants orphanages scrapped;  sign language in churches

Patrick Ugeh

There is a rapid increase in the number of people living with disabilities around the world with the figure currently put at 600 million.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Manager in charge of Child Survival Development (CSD), Dr. Oluwatosin Kuti, stated this Thursday at a meeting facilitated by the organisation on the 2013 State of the World's Children Report and dissemination of  the 2011 Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey holding in Enugu.

He attributed the rise  of the number of people living with disabilities to the world's increasing population of the aged, malnutrition, chronic conditions and injuries from war and other forms of violence as well as HIV/AIDS.

He also suggested the use of sign language by churches and other religious centres along with the preference for door handles that can be pressed instead of the use of knobs that are difficult for certain people with disabilities to use.

He further reiterated the call for public buildings to make provision for ramps that will facilitate mobility by wheel chair-bound people.

Fielding questions from journalists after presenting the Review of the 2013 State of the World's Children Report (1), Prof. Pai Obanya, a former UNICEF executive and currently Chair of the West African Examinations Council, advocated the adoption of orphans into family homes where they would be given adequate love and attention.

Noting that he grew up in such a condition where his uncle treated him like one of his children since he had been orphaned, Obanya explained that such background prepared him to become more useful to himself and the society.

He explained that  government must develop the political will while the society should have attitudinal change to ensure inclusive integration of people with disabilities to enable them have adult productive life functions.

Obanya advised people with disabilities who are discriminated against  to take legal action to seek redress and insist on their rights.

Another key recommendation of the report was the ratification and implementation of the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and the convention on the rights of the child.

Tags: News, Nigeria, Featured, UNICEF, Disabilities

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