Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Goge Africa’s charity event raises awareness for orphans and children with special needs

While most fingers point at the Nigerian government and the health institutions they fund as being the culprits when it comes to the appalling number of women and children who die needless deaths in Nigeria, corporate organisations are pitching in to highlight the need to have better health policies that would ensure that children are born healthy because of the quality of care their mothers had access to during pregnancy and childbirth.

Improving MNCH takes more than government policies and roundtable discussions among policy makers. Though the different tiers of government have an obligation to ensuring the health of its residents, there is an immediate need for effective involvement of organizations at the community levels as a stepping stone for making a difference in the society.

To this end, the Lagos-based organization Goge Africa took the opportunity of the festive season to host a charity event for orphans and children with special needs. Knowing that many children in Lagos do not have the privilege of visiting parks or cultural shows because of their physical challenges, congenital disabilities, and lack of opportunities arising from coming from broken homes, the management of Goge Africa decided to invite them to enjoy a day of dancing and music.

Isaac Moses, the co-director of Goge Africa, while speaking with the Devcoms team stated that this year’s event was part of Goge’s ongoing community support projects meant to bring publicity to MNCH issues such as child development and maternal health.

His words, ’The government should continue to educate women on the need to access antenatal care in clinics so as to prevent child disabilities in the future, they should also endeavour to provide these clinics with the skilled medical staff and equipment.”

According to Moses, “They [the government] are most visible, so I usually mention them first. But organizations have their own responsibilities, too. I find if people aren’t asked to give, they won’t give. So it’s up to organizations like ours to push multinationals to give funds to children.”

The daylong charity event, held at Apapa Amusement Park in Lagos, drew a crowd of children, families, media, non-profit organizations, and government sectors, including the Federal Ministry of Health and UNICEF, who led a health and nutrition workshop for the children. Dance competitions, gift-giving, and cultural performances were among the festivities throughout the event, as well as a visit from the popular musicians the Mamuzee Twins.

By Amanda Hale

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