FG, UK Commend Sightsavers on Support to Persons With Disabilities

FG, UK Commend Sightsavers on Support to Persons With Disabilities

FG, UK Commend Sightsavers on Support to Persons With Disabilities

The Federal Government, UK and other stakeholders have commended Sightsavers, an NGO, for implementing programmes to support Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Nigeria.

They made the commendation at a gala night and award ceremony to mark Sightsaver’s 70th anniversary which ended early Friday morning in Abuja.

Sightsavers is an international charity working to prevent avoidable blindness, support equality for people with disabilities and advocate for change.

Mr James Lalu, Executive Secretary, of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), acknowledged the support of Sightsavers in the establishment of the commission and the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Prohibition Act.

“I appreciate Sightsavers for what you have been doing in improving the quality of life for PWDs since I assumed the position of executive secretary, NCPWDs.

“You have been one of our partners and fighting for disability rights in Nigeria.

“They have committed a lot of resources and energy to make sure PWDs have a law that protects their lives and dignity.

“We now have a Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities Prohibition Act and that did not stop there, as Sightsavers mobilised stakeholders to mobilise NCPWDs.

“We commend the work of Sightsavers and what they have been doing in Nigeria; we thank you on behalf of the over 30 million Nigerians with disabilities,” he said.

Dr Betta Edu, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, also spoke at the event.

“You can only imagine the joy and gratitude in the hearts of people who you have saved their sights.

“Nigeria is proud to say that we are the great beneficiary of Sightsavers, you have reduced the morbidity associated with blindness in Nigeria.

“We are proud to say as a country we have had immense benefits from our partnership with Sightsavers,” she said.

On her part, Ms Carolyn Harper, Chief Executive Officer, of Sightsavers, stressed the need to improve access to healthcare services, especially at the community level.

“There is still a lot to do to bring healthcare into communities, particularly in the north and we need to continue to fight to do that.

“Some of my colleagues will be travelling to communities to see progress made and I hope to continue to make progress over the next few years in the elimination of NTDs, health work and PWDs,” she said.

In his remarks,  Dr Sunday Isiyaku, Sightsavers Country Director, called for more support from prominent Nigerians within and in the Diaspora to contribute towards Improving eye health and protecting the rights of PWDs.

“You have paved a way for Nigeria; where NTDs will be confined to the history books; where people hopefully will not go blind for variable causes; where PWDs will contribute meaningfully and equally to our society.

“As we celebrate this important milestone, we thank you for your hard work as the job was not yet done,” he said.

On his part, Ian Attfield, Senior Education Adviser, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, said the office would continue to partner with the Nigerian government, Sightsavers and others in implementing programmes.

“We really value the partnership with Sightsavers in the disability-inclusive programmes and we will continue to strengthen our work including and importantly with the government.

“Because I know that Nigerian government have stood by the partners to promote through legislation, policies to work against stigma to improve the lives of PWDs,” he said.

Other highlights of the day were documentary videos and pictures to showcase Sightsaver’s activities for 70 years and the conferment of awards to 33 outstanding personalities and organisations for their support.

Some of the beneficiaries include Usman Danfodio University, Federal and some state Ministries of Health, FCDO, Standard Chartered Bank, and the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), amongst others.