World Cerebral Palsy Day is celebrated every year on 5 Oct to raise awareness as well as to ensure that persons with cerebral palsy have access to their human rights and opportunities, just like everyone else.
What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in childhood. It affects 17 million people globally, and 350 million family members and caregivers. It is caused by an injury to the developing brain which occurs before, during or soon after birth. For most cases, the cause is unknown. Cerebral palsy is a lifelong disability that affects movement and is often accompanied by speech, swallowing, cognitive, vision and hearing impairments.
Theme for World Cerebral Palsy Day 2016
The theme for world cerebral palsy day 2016 is - 'We will tell the world … I am here, we are here'. It is time to close the gap between the everyday circumstances and the real potential of people living with cerebral palsy. Too many people receive ineffective therapies, too many individuals and their families lack access to basic information and support, too little money is being spent on research, and far too many societies keep people with cerebral palsy out of sight, out of mind and out of options.
CBM’s work with cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy interventions are integrated within all CBM's supported CBR programmes. It is also addressed in CBM's Physical Rehabilitation initiatives.
CBM has also been involved in developing the ‘Get to know cerebral palsy’ manual produced by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
CBM conducted cerebral palsy research and early intervention in Ghana, and will present its findings at the 2nd World CBR Congress taking place in Kuala Lumpur this week (27-29 September 2016).
We have also been instrumental in setting up cerebral palsy self-help groups with Inclusive primary health and CBR programmes in Ghana. Furthermore we are also supporting a Global Community of Practice with over 400 members from more than 60 countries. This is a very active community where a lot of learning and sharing of best practices is taking place.
Over the years, CBM and its partner organisations have learned a lot about the most effective approach for children with cerebral palsy and their families. The starting point is to “listen to the child and listen to the family”. We have achieved a lot in making life for children with cerebral palsy and their families more meaningful thereby recognising the role of the parents in caring for children with cerebral palsy. It is only through the parents that these children can reach their potentials and be considered as essential parts of the family and the community. It is through the home based approach that all issues of children with cerebral palsy can be considered and necessary adjustments can be made to promote their inclusion in the family and the community where they live.Michiel Steenbeek, Senior Advisor Physical Impairment & Rehabilitation at CBM