Providing access to intervention support for rural children with cerebral palsy

This teenager spent most of her life lying on the floor, unaware that sitting by herself was a possibility. We gave her a bench and trained her caregiver in how to loosen her legs and help her to sit. Now she can sit in a wheelchair.

Although there aren’t reliable statistics about how many children have cerebral palsy (CP) in South Africa, figures from well-resourced settings suggest between 2-3 babies per 1000 live births will have CP (Himmelmann et al., 2010; Kragelow-Mann et al., 2009). Because of inadequate obstetrical and neonatal care, particularly in rural poor areas in South Africa, the number is likely to be higher (Couper 2002). Access to good early intervention services (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and stimulation), and to supportive equipment, is essential to prevent children from becoming more disabled as they grow older. In South Africa, the lack of these services particularly in poor and rural areas, results in a population of children with CP who are generally very severely affected and disabled (Saloojee et al., 2003). Read more…

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