Sir Emeka Offor extends support to Benola - A Cerebral Palsy Initiative.

 Written by Dr. Edwin Ndukwe


Sir Emeka Offor, on Thursday 22nd of May, 2014 through the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF) donated N500,000 to BENOLA Initiative, a non-profit organization committed to change and progress for persons living with Cerebral Palsy (CP).


The donation was made at a gathering for a public presentation of Benola’s roadmap for Cerebral Palsy in Nigeria. In their presentation, the founders of Benola Initiative, AVM Felix Olufemi Gbadebo and his wife Mrs Alaba Adeyemi Gbadebo sought to; raise awareness about CP, create a credible database for the condition in Nigeria and other African Countries, provide care and support for affected families, engage in capacity building for professionals in the healthcare sector on the use of appropriate technology and, in concert with other stakeholders, engage in advocacy for the rights of every individual living with limitations.


While addressing the guests, the Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Tunji Funsho, who is also the Chairman of Nigeria National PolioPlus, appraised the significance of the roadmap document on the Nigerian healthcare system. He further affirmed that the document offers a clear direction for effective management of CP in the country, looking at the synergistic roles of government, private and civil society groups.


Rosaline Agiamoh, The Polio Ambassador Representative was at the event to stand in for Sir Offor who could not be present due to prior commitments. Conveying Sir Offor’s goodwill message, she commended the Benola Initiative and expressed that the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation was not only supporting the initiative with funds but also open to partner with the Benola team on other programs. Before handing over the donation, Mrs. Agiamoh reminded the founders that Sir Offor felt touched by their efforts and despite the short notice was moved to supporting the initiative with N500, 000 in bank draft.


Cerebral Palsy, which can affect children before or during birth and up to 3 years, is caused by damage to the motor control centers of a developing brain. It is accompanied with permanent and progressive physical disability. Only about 2% of CP cases are considered genetic. In Nigeria, about 700,000 children are affected with CP, according to a report quoted by Professor Afolabi Lesi, a Paediatrician and Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences at the University of Lagos.


Nigerian children affected by CP are largely at an increased disadvantage when compared to their counterparts in most developed countries due to poor awareness, lack of support and management tools, and due to the shame and cultural stigma associated with the condition. As loving parents, AVM Gbadebo and his wife, having a child with CP did not cause them to hide their faces. They worked tirelessly to provide the necessary support their child needed and are now extending similar assistance to others. Their efforts were applauded by the distinguished Senator Khairat Abdulrazaq-Gwadabe, who confirmed that the Benola team has touched “hundreds of lives”.





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