Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Multikids Inclusive Academy organizes “Embrace”

Students of Multikids Inclusive Academy, an inclusive educational facility in Ghana on Wednesday night put up a splendid performance showing the abilities of especially children with special needs

some of the students on display
The Show dubbed: “Embrace” had children with all kinds of special needs as well as “normal” children recite poetry, dance and drama and artistic performances to the admiration of parents and audience.

The show which also marked the end of year programme for the school was also used to raise fund to support the feeding of children in the Accra Psychiatric Hospital

Ms Amanda Budge, Head of Multikids Inclusive Academy, said end of year show is used to demonstrate the abilities of children especially those with special needs and let the world know that “every child matters”

She called on Ghanaians to embrace all children especially those with special needs saying “they have special abilities”.

The students at the end of the show invited all audience to dance to the tune “Heal the World” calling for acceptance of all children in society regardless of their needs.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Cerebral palsy management must be holistic – Dr Badoe

Dr Ebenezer Badoe, a Neuro-Peadiatrician at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital has reiterated the need to implement a multidisciplinary working method in managing cerebral palsy patients

He explained that cerebral palsy patients may have different issues that will require the various professionals to handle and thus promote better understanding of the condition among health workers.

Cerebral Palsy is a non-progressive neurological disorder caused by brain injury or malformation while the child’s brain is developing. It affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, and sometimes the speech of the child.

Master Gabriel Narh, sharing his experience with the forum
The condition thus require the expertise of specialists including a neurologist, a physiotherapist, a speech and occupational therapist, orthotics, nutritionists or dietician, a peadiatrician among others for efficient management.

Dr Badoe said this at a forum to disseminate the findings of a two-year research that sought to evaluate the impact of a community-based parent training programme for children with cerebral palsy in Ghana.

The research is a partnership between the International Centre for Evidence in Disability (ICED) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in collaboration with CBM, the School of Biomedical and Allied Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, the University of Ghana and the Health Directorate of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.

Dr Badoe  also acknowledged the absence of a proper communication strategy between health professionals in general and parents of children with cerebral and said there was a programme in place to train especially medical doctors in that regard.

“We are working to train all medical doctors in communication, if you are a good doctor and cannot communicate properly with your client then you are not that good,” he said.

The forum which brought together stakeholders working on cerebral palsy also discussed the way forward to ensure efficient management and the need to increase awareness on cerebral palsy.

Dr Isabella Sagoe-Moses, the National Child Health Coordinator at the Ghana Health Service, said the service was working to ensure that health professionals at the grass root get to know much about cerebral palsy to enable them recognize the early signs.

Ms Maria Zuurmond, a research fellow at the ICED, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said at the overall project showed a significant improvement in quality of life measures for the caregiver.

She said: “Caregivers reported positively about small changes in their child’s development and felt this gave them hope.

“We found that the knowledge about the child’s condition improved significantly, which was particularly important given that most had never received proper diagnoses about their child’s condition.”

Ms Zuurmond said there was some small improvement in access to education but children were also likely to drop out of school unless they had support and understanding from peers and teachers.

She pointed out that there was “excess” death of children with cerebral palsy compared to the standard population

“In total, eight children died over a 12 month period, six girls and two boys between identification in June 2015 and End line in June/July 2016. The standard mortality ratio is 14.61 for children between one and five years, meaning the children are 14.61 times more likely to die than children in standard population.

"of the 8 children, 5 children died in the first 3 months. All children had severe cerebral palsy, most were severely malnourished, all were referred early in the programme for additional support from local nutrition teams and hospitals. Most  children came of the poorest families in Ghana. Stigma and traditional beliefs influence care of the child and was a barrier to seeking treatment. This really highlights the importance of early intervention and counseling and additional support for family," Ms Zuurmond explained

Some beneficiaries of the project who shared their experiences testified that it has been very beneficial to them and their children and called for more of such programmes and support.

Master Gabriel Narh, a 13 year old boy with cerebral palsy, also a beneficiary of the project, said he started school only about 18 months ago after he join the project.

“Before then, I wasn’t going to school, she thought I could not do anything with my life and I also thought same but now through the project I have hope that I can do something with my life.”

Mrs Hannah Awadzi, Initiator of the Special Mothers Project, a project that advocate and create awareness on cerebral palsy, said the lack of coordination among health professionals and sometimes the lack of understanding of the condition by some health professionals put parents under intense stress.

Some participants at the forum expressed concern about the lack of assistive devices in Ghana, the lack of awareness about cerebral palsy and the lack of social support that make many families with cerebral palsy children go through intense stress.

They called on government, corporate organizations and individuals to support programmes that advocate for cerebral palsy issues in Ghana.