A parent with CP speaking at the forum
Families with children suffering from cerebral palsy (PS) will now have an additional source of income as they will soon be enrolled unto the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme by government.
The enrolment of cerebral palsy families unto the scheme will reduce the huge financial burden parents with cerebral palsy children face in managing the condition and give them the breathing space to focus on their children’s development.
Gifty Twum Ampofo, Deputy Minister of Gender, Children & Social Protection, said this at the 2017 Child Inclusion Forum on cerebral palsy, organised by Pumpkins Foundation and Cerebral Palsy Ghana.
She said the ministry places priority on the development of every Ghanaian child, and will, therefore, ensure that children in Ghana have the right environment and conditions to develop to their full potential.
“The children will be registered on the LEAP programme and their parents will also be put on the skills training programmes to ensure the sustained flow of income,” she stated.
Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, addressing the gathering made up of parents with cerebral palsy children, health officers and the media, indicated that the issue of mental health and particularly cerebral palsy is one of the top priorities of the Ministry of Health.
He said in the coming months, the ministry is going to pay more attention to ensure that the healthcare needs of people suffering from cerebral palsy are met.
“Our renewed attention will be focused on addressing the health needs of persons with cerebral palsy,” he added.
The health minister pointed out that so far the ministry is incorporating physiotherapists in all hospital across the country to help in the management of children with conditions like cerebral palsy to improve their lives.
Statistics show the occurrence of cerebral palsy is one in every 300 children in Ghana has cerebral palsy caused by poor brain development, usually caused by jaundice in new-borns, children lacking oxygen due to delayed birth or head injury at birth, among others.
Currently, Ghana has a little over 105 physiotherapists, and no special clinic exists to care for the children, cost of care is expensive, some schools reject them while those that accept such children end up maltreating them and worsening their plight.
They are mostly shunned by society and denied their rights as human being due to their conditions. They are neglected and abused by members of society and are treated as outcasts.
Some parents of cerebral palsy children who shared their experience with DAILY GUIDE disclosed that they have to stop working in order to provide the needed care as schools and housemaids maltreat these children.
Some mothers narrated that their husbands have abandoned them to their fate simply because of the lack of support systems in the country.
The Commissioner of Police (COP), Dr George Akuffu Dampare, Board Chair of the Pumpkins Foundation, called for the need to support children and families with such challenges, through being there for them and showing them love.
“We must stop connoting cerebral palsy with evil spirits and curses and find modern practical ways of unearthing the talents of children with this challenge,” he advised.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri