Advocacy with Health Sector Leaders on Improved Primary Health Services for Children with Disabilities in Rural Communities.

Have you thought about how children with disabilities access health care in rural communities? Can their parents afford to pay for health care services? These questions should jolt one’s consciousness to the fact accessibility and affordability are determinates of quality health services for children particularly the vulnerable ones with disability. The Nigerian Government domesticated the Child Rights Act (2013) and National Health Insurance Act (2014) both legal instruments mandates government to ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care services for children. While the legislations are important milestones for ensuring access to health care, the implementation of these legislations is imperative for delivering on the commitments.
The Sedoo Initiative for Children with Special Needs is standing in the gap between policy and implementation. It is based on this that advocacy meeting with leaders in the health sector was held on March 23, 2023 at SECHILD Center. The meeting is an activity under improving access to Primary Health Care for Children with Special Needs was sponsored by #LilianeFonds through #TheLeprosyMissionNigeria. The meeting connected Civil Society Organisations working with children with special needs, Government Ministries and Agencies for strategic collaboration to ensure children with disabilities access to affordable health care services. It was attended by a representative of the Hon. Minister of Health, National Health Insurance Agency, Partners from The Leprosy Mission Nigeria, Media,Kuje Area Council Primary Health Care, traditional leaders, Association of Women With Disabilities Initiative and other CSO partners.
While discussing the health sector and disability ecosystem, commitments were made by the Ministry of Health to provide technical support and training for care workers and staff of CSOs. Further commitments were made on collaboration with National Health Insurance Agency to enroll children with disabilities on the Group Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP) which covers persons outside the formal sector employment to access quality health care without financial hardship. The program would benefit parents who are formally employed to provide health insurance cover for their children with disabilities. The traditional leaders further made commitment to break the stigma and mobilize parents of children with special needs to work with SECHILD to benefit from the project.

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