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Government to include cerebral palsy caregivers on LEAP programme

By
Samira Larbie/Deborah Apetorgbor, GNA

Accra, July 20, GNA – Mrs Gifty Twum Ampofo,
the Deputy Minister of Gender Children and Social Protection, has announced
government’s move to enrol households with cerebral palsy on the Livelihood
Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme.

She said the initiative was to reduce the
financial burden of caring for children with the condition and other special
needs on parents and caregivers.

Mrs Twum Ampofo said over 200,000 households
had benefited from the LEAP initiative, of which over 130,000 were children and
added that as the programme was being expanded, it was expedient to include
households with caregivers of children with special needs, critical among them,
Cerebral Palsy.

The Deputy Minister was speaking at the
opening of a two-day national conference on Cerebral Palsy organised by the
Samuel Wellington Botwey (SWEB) Foundation in Accra on the theme: “Inclusion
Matters: Count in Children with Cerebral Palsy.”

The conference aims at involving a wider group
of stakeholders to examine the needs of children with Cerebral Palsy and their
parents and to learn about the current state of services offered in the country
to address those needs in the areas of health, physiotherapy, education and
social participation.

Mrs Twum Ampofo called for a concerted effort
for the holistic development of all children especially those with special
needs, and a “coordinated national thinking of stakeholders to tackle cerebral
palsy frontally.”

Additionally, she invited the presentation of
a collated data on the condition to the Ministry for national consideration and
policy formulation on support provision to Cerebral Palsy caregivers.

Mr David Botwey, the Executive Director of the
SWEB Foundation, explained that Cerebral Palsy as a disabling condition that
affected the part of the brain responsible for sensory and motor coordination,
resulting in impairment to speech and other senses.

He said notwithstanding the increasing cases
of Cerebral Palsy especially among children in Ghana, little was being done in
terms of inclusive policies, appropriate rehabilitation and other forms of
services and support for parents of children living with the condition.

Mr Botwey, however, commended all partners,
stakeholders and Cerebral Palsy Africa for the support for the commencement of
the conference.

Mrs Jedidiah Abanga, the Programme Coordinator
Inclusive Child Development, Presbyterian Health Services, said research had
indicated that cerebral palsy is the most occurring disability among children
in the world over with 150 million living with the condition, 80 per cent of
which are in lower and middle-income countries.

She said the research had also shown that
children with cerebral palsy greatly suffered from malnutrition leading to
underweight and stunted growth.

There was also a high rate of mortality over
the two years period within which the research was conducted as well as social
discrimination both in the communities and the schools.

She advised that healthcare givers especially
doctors should give the right information and education to parents whose
children suffered from cerebral palsy upon detection to save the situation at
an early stage.

Mrs Abanga said this was necessary as many
cerebral palsy cases had been worsened due to ignorance on the part of parents
and teachers who cared for such children.

She therefore urged that there should be a
multidisciplinary approach to support children with cerebral palsy and their
family, review of national nutrition guidelines, identify and strengthen
opportunities for inclusion of children with disabilities including special
needs of cerebral palsy patients.

She called for the need to utilise research to
inform national advocacy campaigns to address issues related to
disability. 

GNA

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