By Akem Olives
The Empowerment and Disability Inclusive Development (EDID) Program of the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services is more and more present on the field to identify children with Cerebral Palsy (CP). The objective is to rehabilitate them to live more ‘independent’ lives. One of such community visits was in Tubah and Bamenda III Subdivisions on March 22, 2021.
During the field visit four children with CP were assessed by the lead physiotherapist and a rehabilitation plan developed. Mufor Daniella, 3, was the first amongst the children to be assessed. She’s unable to stretch her legs, move her head and hands, nor sit. “I’ve had to move from one hospital and specialist to another but no change. Daniella cannot even change her position in bed at this age,” bemoans Mrs. Mufor Carine, Daniella’s Mother. “I’ve spent a lot yet no improvement,” she adds with teary eyes, as she looks through X-rays films of her child. From Daniella’s story to that of the other three children (Akonwui Asha, 7, Awah Irienne, 10 and Nyuynkenyuy Jennifer, 10) one thing stands out, their parents and guardians are in a lookout for solutions to have them function independently like other children. After listening to these parents with rapt attention, Fanfon Timothy, Physiotherapist and Technical Supervisor of the EDID Partner Organisations proposed a rehabilitation plan for each child. With a perfect blend of physiotherapy and psychosocial skills he drills Daniella’s mother through seating technique which will stimulate her muscles. Much to her satisfaction her teary eyes clears off and a smile is what she now wears. It’s worth mentioning that varying as the conditions were, each child was assigned a specific rehabilitation plan. Quizzed on how long it might take to have these children function independently, Mr. Fanfon says. “It’s going to be gradual, child growth and development is a gradual processes. This will be possible if the parents are willing and stick to the rehabilitation plan.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CP is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. It’s usually caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the brain that affects a person’s ability to control his or her muscles. By that definition, children with CP are greatly incapacitated making them dependent on their parents and siblings for most of their activities. Therefore the move by the CBC Health Services’ Empowerment and Disability Inclusive Development (EDID) Programme with financial support from the Liliane Foundation to rehabilitate these children is welcomed relief to parents.