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Goodwill message delivered by UNICEF Nigeria Assistant Country Representative and Chief of Lagos Office, Mrs. Sara Beysolow Nyanti, at the Family Health Forums on Children with Disabilities

Organized by Special Olympics Nigeria at Oke - Igbo, Ondo State on Saturday, 22 October 2011

Ladies & Gentlemen

It is indeed an honour for the United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF) to be present with you today as you make your contributions towards caring for children with intellectual disabilities by supporting them and their families have increased access to health information, medical professionals and preventative supplies such as insecticide treated bed nets. It is equally heart-warming to learn that you are making available free visual, dental and medical screening to all participants.

By this singular act, you help lessen the challenges intellectually disabled children and their families go through as a result of the numerous odds against their rights to survival, development, protection and participation. For this, UNICEF commends Special Olympics Nigeria for bringing visibility to children with intellectual disabilities especially as they engage in activities which give them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship and thus facilitate the realization of the rights of these children, without any discrimination.

UNICEF in collaboration with governmental and nongovernmental organizations work to improve negative attitudes about children with disabilities, and review laws and policies that deny them equitable access to health, education and other social services as provided in the Childs’ Rights Law. Our partnership with Special Olympics is global, began in 2007 and currently features collaborations in fifteen countries including Nigeria.

UNICEF in collaboration with Government and Civil societies addresses the Hygiene and Sanitation through increased access to improved water and sanitation systems to control water-borne diseases that undermine child survival and development, reduce productivity and raise health-care costs and reduce the burdens that fall particularly on girls and women.

To ensure acceptable standards of Hygiene and Sanitation in communities, homes and schools, a holistic approach to water and sanitation efforts that combines increased access to facilities and the promotion of behaviour change with supportive policies and institutions is supported. Sustainable improvements in hygiene behaviour patterns require promotion and education activities. Water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, backed byappropriate policies, institutions and community capacity to manage and sustain hygiene, water and sanitation programmes.

Promotion of Hygiene requires

Enabling environments: An environment that enables and supports the improvement of hygiene must be continuously promoted at all levels – from the village household at one end of the spectrum, to the office of the global policymaker at the other.

Let me therefore conclude by reminding everyone present here that just as the theme of this gathering says; Disability is No Barrier to Good Health. Every child here present is precious, unique and endowed with unquantifiable potentials and entitled to all rights as contained in the Child Rights Act/Law. UNICEF believes that a world that cherishes every child is a better world fit for all children. May we all be brave in our collective attempt at building that better world.

I thank you so much for your attention.



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