Some parents of children with Cerebral Palsy (CP) have expressed the wish for health professionals to give early diagnoses to the health disorder, to enable them have early interventions.
The parents noted that early intervention with therapy makes a lot of difference in a child with CP hence the need for health professionals to involve parents in their health care strategies.
Mrs Suzana Basing, a mother of a six years old girl and a health worker who shared her experience at a CP parents support group meeting said, she noticed her there was something wrong with her child as early as six weeks and started seeking medical attention.
“However, doctors could not pinpoint to me what exactly was wrong with my child, at a point. I got frustrated and stopped seeking medical help,” she said.
She noted that when her daughter was four months old, an old day in her town noticed there was something wrong with the child.
“The old woman gave me some herbs to massage the child and she started crawling but crawled for a long time till she finally walked at age two.”
Mrs Basing therefore called on medical professionals to enhance their knowledge when it comes to CP and help parents with early diagnoses.
Mrs Hannah Awadzi, Initiator of the Special Mothers Project, a project advocating and educating the public about CP, expressed worry about the slow diagnosis of the health problem to parents.
“In Ghana, every patient or client to the hospital is seen as ignorant, medical doctors keep your diagnoses close to their chest and in the process some make really serious mistakes,” she noted.
Mrs Awadzi who is also a mother of a three year- old girl with CP said: “I wish that I knew my child had CP as early as three month, I would have started therapy very early and in earnest but I only got to know after my child was nine month.”
She said doctors need to actively engage and involve parents of CP children in their diagnoses and treated.
Mrs Eugenia Tevie, mother of a six year old CP girl, who shared similar sentiments, said she did not even know what her child was being treated for.
“I got to know that my child was being treated for Klebsiella bacteria, after another doctor in a different hospital called for her childhood folders,” she said also expressing concern about health care delivery in Ghana.
Nana Akua Owusu, Speech and Communications Therapist, said from her research, many CP cases in Ghana were due to medical negligence.
“CP is the number one contributor to childhood disabilities in Ghana and there are quite a number of CP cases in Ghana.”
Nana Akua Owusu, who also runs a non- governmental organisation for children with special needs, said most doctors feel intimidated by well-informed parents.
She urged parents of CP children to come together and point out some of these lapses with the health care administrators to save future parents from the hassle that parents with CP children in Ghana go through.
Mrs Trudy Segbefia, Special Education Coordinator in the Akuapem North Municipal Education office said the normal educational system denies education on CP.
She said a lot of teachers have received training only on persons with vision, hearing and intellectual disabilities.
She said: “It is high time teachers and caregivers are trained for autistic and CP children.”
Ms Abena Ofosuhenmaa, Specialist in Pediatric disabilities, advised parents not to give up so early on physiotherapy.
She said: “Physiotherapy works, it may take a very long time but you will see the effects someway, somehow.”
Cerebral Palsy is a neurological disorder that affects movement and speech of children.