|Drawing of a 13 year old CP Boy|
She said there was the need to have well-structured and efficient institutions that were friendly and suitable for children with Cerebral Palsy to stimulate their proper development in an environment the children would feel comfortable.
Mrs Forkuo also called for the establishment of a fund and some support from the government for parents who would like to send their CP children abroad by facilitating visa collection.
She made the call when a group of women with children who have the condition met to discuss their welfare issues and advocacy for CP issues in Ghana.
The women met as part of the Special Mothers project, a project that seeks to create awareness about Cerebral Palsy while encouraging and motivating mothers not to give up on their children.
Medical experts explain Cerebral Palsy as a neurological disorder usually resulting from brain injury. Cerebral Palsy affects the movement and muscle coordination. It contributes to a large percentage of all childhood disabilities.
The condition happens during pregnancy or shortly after birth, Cerebral Palsy can also result from non treatment of neo-natal jaundice. No two children with Cerebral palsy look the same but most of the children experience spasm (stiffness of joints and muscles) and delayed speech.
Mrs Forkuo said: As a country, we are very silent on Cerebral Palsy and families are suffering. However, early intervention programmes can help children with CP. The CP children come up so well when we start intervention early, my son can draw very well and I wish we had well established schools with the supportive environment to develop that talent.”
“Such social services are given to parents in developed countries and even some developing countries, so why can’t it happen in Ghana?” she asked.
Mrs Forkuo said policy makers had to create an environment that encouraged efficient social support and services the children.
“Many parents are lamenting in their homes, we need help, every disability is a disability,” she stated.
Mrs Esi Anim, mother of a six-year old girl with Cerebral Palsy supported the idea of well established institutions and social structures, and also expressed concerns about the lack of specialists’ services in Ghana to attend to these children.
She said: “It is very frustrating trying to access the services of physiotherapists, psychologists, speech therapists, and neurologists in Ghana and even more frustrating if one is living outside Accra.”
Mrs Faustina Asiedu Larbi, another mother with a three-year old CP girl, said many mothers were left with no choice but to abandon their CP children because there was no social support service in Ghana.
“Most of these children are even left home without any hope of getting educated because while some schools reject them, others charge extra for admitting them.”
Ms Malwine Amoako, mother of a three-year old CP boy, called for extension of specialist services into rural Ghana, saying, even some major cities do not have such services in their hospitals so mothers have to travel long distances to access them.
Mrs Joyce Adubofuor Atta, mother of an eight-year old girl with CP, who expressed helplessness about her child’s situation, said she hoped that policy makers would pay attention to children and families affected by the condition.
“Children with Cerebral Palsy are very intelligent and can contribute to our economic and social development as a country, if given the needed push,” she added