Monday, October 24, 2016

Special Mothers call on government to facilitate inclusion policy

Some mothers with children with cerebral palsy, have called on government to help such families with policies that ensures a holistic integration of the children into the society.
A cross-section of special mothers at the meeting

Most children with cerebral palsy in Ghana are kept at home excluded from social life because there are no social structures that facilitate the inclusion and integration of the children into society, Mrs Mina Yeboah, mother of a five year old girl with cerebral palsy said.

“I am mostly surfing on the internet looking for help because it is so difficult accessing services for your child with cerebral palsy in Ghana, there is the lack of proper seating and standing equipment and physiotherapy services are expensive,” she said.

Mrs Yeboah said this at a meeting to review the activities of the Special Mothers Project and look at the way forward for the project.

The Special Mothers Project is an advocacy and awareness creation programme of cerebral palsy. The project brings together mothers with children who have cerebral palsy to share experiences and encouragement while serving as a counselling point for mothers.

Mrs Emelia Gyenkel, mother of a nine- year- old boy with cerebral palsy, who shared some of her experiences with the group, said physiotherapy services, which used to be GH? 6 was suddenly increased to GH¢36.00.

“I spent not less than GH¢80.00 to access a session of physiotherapy for my son and it is a big disincentive to me, considering that many mothers are forced to stay at home, how mothers can access such services which are very expensive,” she said.

Mrs Gyenkel called on corporate organisations both in Ghana and abroad to support projects such as the special mothers project to enable more mothers get access to some of these services.

The Special Mothers Project in collaboration with similar organisations organises periodic workshops for parents with cerebral palsy children.

The workshops serve as a skill learning platform for parents since professionals like physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech therapist train parents on the basic handling skills.

The Special Mothers project has also adopted a government Special School in Madina in the Greater Accra Region is hoping to raise funds to improve the schools infrastructure to enable more parents’ access education for their wards.

Most children with cerebral palsy are rejected or refused admission into the crèche system since most of those institutions are privately run.

Meanwhile the Multikids Foundation, an NGO has expressed readiness to collaborate with the Special Mothers Project to set up services for children with cerebral palsy and their families.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Government to mainstream disability issues into development process - Minister

Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection has announced government’s commitment to mainstream disability issues at all levels of the development process.

Mothers dancing carrying their CP children at their back
She noted that: “Inclusiveness is a fundamental human right” pledging towork to enhance public awareness of cerebral palsy especially in correcting myths and reducing stigmatization.

Nana Oye Lithur announced this at a forum to celebrate World Cerebral Palsy Day in Ghana on 5th October, 2016 on the theme: “A child with Cerebral Palsy – A child with possibilities.”

Cerebral palsy a neurological disorder that affects movement and sometimes speech of children is the most common physical disability among children..

The Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister said: “Let us all ensure that children with Cerebral Palsy and their families can have full lives that enables them to contribute to national development.”

She announced that government had increased the proportion of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) allocated to persons with disability by 50 per cent,

Nana Lithur said government intends to introduce an additional 30 percent increase of the DACF reserved for persons with disability to cater for their free NHIS subscription.

The Minister used the platform to help register over 90 parents and children with cerebral palsy unto the national health insurance scheme and presented gifts to them.

Reverend Edmund Asante, Director in charge of Development and Social Services at the Presbyterian Church of Ghana,  said the church saw an urgent need to celebrate World CP Day to contribute to awareness on the issue.

The forum organized by the Presbyterian Health Services,  under the department of Development and Social Services is part of effort by the Presby Church in collaboration with CBM, an NGO and the International Centre for Evidence in Disability of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to share some findings of a two year research project on CP

Sharing some findings, Rev, Asante said the project had seen a 30 percent improvement in overall quality of life measures.

“We found that knowledge and confidence of the care givers about how to care for a child with cerebral palsy has significantly improved,” he said.

He noted that providing assistive devices such as appropriate chairs for seating, standing frame  etc for children to enable care givers to enhance their ability to work, rather than always carrying the child.

Rev. Asante said most care givers are unaware of the existence of the DACF and only one family had accessed the fund.

He appealed to government to consider establishing schools for such children.

Mrs Hannah Awadzi, Initiator of the Special Mothers Project, an advocacy project on Cerebral palsy, called on the government to show more commitment towards helping parents with such children.

“Many educated mothers are forced to become stay-home mums because they have a child with CP and yet caring for the children is expensive,” she added

She also urged the Minister to consider talking government into setting up early childhood development centres or day care centres where parents with younger CP children could leave them to go and work to enable them earn a living.

Mrs Awadzi said parents especially mothers of children with CP should be involved in policy making and decisions about CP, since they live with CP and understand issues better.

The Presbyterian Church Health Directorate said the celebration of World CP Day was replicated across all the regions of Ghana