A Non-Governmental Organisation, Lifeline Organisation for Children Empowerment (LOCE) has appealed to parents, owners of private schools and the Rivers State Government to empower children with special needs to enable them attain full potentials in life.
The Executive Director, LOCE, Ngozi Chukwuka Obiyo made the call during the 2017 International Day of Persons With Disabilities’ celebration, with the theme: ‘Transformation Rewards Sustainable Resilient Society for All’ in Port Harcourt, recently.
She noted that if all relevant stakeholders would pay attention to children with special needs and integrate them into all programmes in the society, everyone would live happily without having any ill-feeling of neglect or discrimination by members of the society.
“Lots of barriers have been placed on persons with special needs both from home and the society. These barriers are classified as both parental and societal rejection, lack of education as a result of unfriendly environment, lack of appropriate health support and early intervention programmes, among others.
“When these barriers are removed and they are empowered, they will participate in societal life and their communities will benefit from them,” she added.
She called on the society to have change of attitude towards people with special needs by putting to an end the stigmatisation they suffered.
“When kids with disabilities are admitted into schools, when they learn together with their peers, and their peers learn to accept and play with them as part of their existence, then they are developed in such a way that they manifest their God-given potentials. This is why LOCE is closing the gap by bringing kids with special needs to play with the other kids.”
She commended LOCE in ensuring that Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 became a reality, and also expressed gratitude to LOCE partners, sponsors, friends, volunteers and families, who contributed their resources and talents to make Play, Learn And Grow (PLAG)Season (4) a huge success.
Similarly a development practitioner and a participant of PLAG Season 4 Mrs Egondu Esiwoke said December 3rd had been set aside annually for the World International Day celebration for People with Disability.
She enumerated some of the things done by LOCE as giving medical support for the musculoskeletal challenged children (Surgery and Physiotherapy); providing life skill; building the child’s self esteem; organising capacity building for parents and guardians of physically challenged children on good parenting skills, among others.
RSPHCMB Encourages Use Of Contraceptives
In celebration of this year’s World Contraception Day, the Rivers State Primary Healthcare Management Board (RSPHCMB) has charged women and couples of child bearing age to embrace the use of contraceptives to help them in planning their lives.
The Director, Community Health Services, RSPHCMB, Dr Joy Wihioka, gave this charge at a briefing to mark this year’s World Contraception Day, celebrated September 26 annually.
She noted that the idea of family planning was to “create an environment where every pregnancy is desired and wanted, and women live to nurture their children after childbirth”.
Wihioka also said the use of contraceptive has been proven to have “positive outcomes in reducing 44% maternal deaths, number of high risk and unwanted pregnancies, as well as preventing unsafe abortions”, which” she observed, was the leading cause of deaths among females.
According to her, “contraceptive use has been found to have important positive implications for maternal health, as well as adolescent health too.
“This is because the intervention helps avert approximately 44% of maternal deaths around the world by reducing the number of high-risk and unwanted pregnancies among citizens, thereby also preventing unsafe abortions which is a leading cause of death among females”.
Speaking on the theme for this year, “Breaking Myths”, Wihioka noted that contrary to beliefs that contraception was inimical to health, it was beneficial.
“It allows women to establish healthy birth-spacing practices whilst their bodies heal in between births: allows women an increased participation in the economic workforce; allows women to invest in themselves and their families, supporting the men to raise household income, especially in these slightly more difficult economic times”, she said.
She continued that the difficulty some women experience when they first up-take a family planning method is common.
She explained further that the methods involve introducing foreign bodies into the body, and the body of a healthy individual is expected to first reject it before acclimatising to it, adding that women should not be alarmed when faced with such inconveniences.
She advised that such women should go back to the health care centre where the service provider would adequately address the challenge.
“It is important for the woman or couple seeking to uptake a family planning method to first be counselled and tested at the primary healthcare facility”, she said.
Wihioka noted that since the establishment of RPHCMB in 2011, the Board had lived up to its mandate “to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate all Primary Health Care programmes and activities in Rivers State.
“It has also embarked on high impact interventions such as Reproductive Health/Family Planning to improve health outcomes for women and girls in the State.
“As we celebrate this year’s World Contraception Day with the theme, ‘Breaking Myths’, we join the global movement in celebrating every significant progress made in improving the health of women and girls by allowing them to decide and space their pregnancies.
“I encourage us as fellow citizens to take the COVID-19 vaccine and for couples who need FP services to visit any Primary Health Center near them, request and access routine family planning counseling and contraceptive services.
“Family planning methods remain safe and effective: there is a method that suits each Woman personally”, she concluded.
By: Tonye Nria-Dappa
HYPREP Set To Clean Up Ogoni Shorelines …To Plant 5m Seedlings
The Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) is now set to clean up polluted shorelines in Ogoni communities in Rivers State and at the end of the exercise plant about five million seedlings on the restored mangroves across Ogoniland.
The Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr Ferdinand Giadom gave this indication during a shorecline remediation sensitisation workshop at the council secretariat of Gokana Local Government Area in Kpor community on Tuesday.
Giadom said the remediation of shoreline inter-tidal areas fall under the semi- complex and complex sites, saying, it is the phase of remediation that most Ogoni people have been waiting for considering the vastness of pollution and damage to the saline environment and the swarming biodiversity that it hosts, stressing that the high expectation is borne out of the fact that remediation in the area can generate multiplied job opportunities for the teeming youths whose livelihoods and that of their dependents could be enhanced.
He noted that in preparation for take-off of the shoreline inter-tidal remediation, HYPREP has assessed a total area of 2,196 hectares and allotted same into 549 grids of 200 metres per grid, adding that the assessed coastlines are in B-Dere, K-Dere, Kpor and Goi communities in Gokana Local Government Area, which he said would host the pilot of the shoreline remediation and from there progress to the rest coastal communities where there is pollution.
According to him, the sensitisation programme was the first in the series of scheduled activities to commence the shoreline remediation works.
Giadom hinted that HYPREP would be transparent and principled in choosing the workforce that would be on site, as it would adopt the Bodo remediation model of open balloting to select the workers. The Bodo remediation model is acclaimed to be highly successful.
According to him, 60 per cent of the workforce will come through balloting and the remaining 40 per cent will be supplied by each community leadership.
He contended that those that would be chosen shall be trained and certified in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO Levels 1 and 2), and their supervisors will have the privilege of having IMO Level 3 certification, stressing that the IMO certification component of the shoreline remediation is a deliberate permanent effort to empower Ogoni youths to work on similar projects anywhere in the world.
The project coordinator said actual shoreline remediation work will commence at the end of the contracting processes and mobilisation of contractors to site, stressing that remediation work in the swamp shall include but not limited to removal of oily soaked debris and stumps, raking of alga mat, flushing of sediment, among others.
He indicated that the re-vegetation of the mangrove in particular would create massive jobs for those who will nurse the five million mangrove seedlings that would be planted, and listed those to benefit from the overall shoreline remediation to include middle level manpower like supervisors, office assistants, safety officers, nurses and first aiders, while the unskilled labour will be cleaners, security guards and community contact persons, saying, those are reserved positions for the communities but it does not in any way preclude any qualified persons in the communities that have higher skills from applying to work for the remediation companies.
Giadom solicited the support of the communities and other Ogonis for HYPREP to achieve set goals and objectives going by the enormous economic opportunities the shoreline remediation would generate for the people, saying, “We need not fight ourselves rather we should close ranks at this time and work together”.
The project coordinator cautioned against re-pollution of the environment after the clean-up exercise.
The highpoint of the event was the presentation of the Bodo Remediation model by the project coordinator, which is going to be adopted for the shoreline remediation of the impacted complex sites in Ogoniland.
By: Donatus Ebi
‘17m People Die Of Cardiovascular Diseases Annually’
The Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Health, Dr Ndidi Emmanuel Utchay, has said globally about 17.9 million people die as a result of Cardiovascular Diseases yearly.
Dr Utchay, who stated this as part of events commemorating the 2022 World Heart Day (WHD), explained that the 17.9 million people accounts for about 31 per cent fatalities worldwide.
‘’According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cardiovascular illnesses are responsible for about 11 per cent of over 2 million deaths in non-communicable diseases in Nigeria”, she said, adding that this situation is similar to Rivers State.
She identified tobacco smoking, unhealthy diet, reduced physical activities, alcoholism, increased high blood pressure, increased blood sugar levels, and obesity as some of the risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases, and stroke.
She stated that it is part of efforts to check the trend of such diseases in the State that the State Government built and equipped a world class standard cardiovascular centre in the State.
“Health workers of different cadres have also been trained in the prevention and management of cardiovascular diseases with standard equipment provided in these facilities”, she stated.
Utchay, however, urged residents in Rivers State to adopt healthy lifestyle by avoiding smoking tobacco products, unhealthy diets, living sedentary lifestyles, and indulging excessive consumption of alcohol in order to avoid contracting such illnesses.
The theme of this year’s World Heart Day, “Use Heart for Every Heart”, she explained, is aimed at raising adequate awareness on cardiovascular diseases, prevent the diseases, and also learn how to manage the diseases, when they occur.
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