Issues We Face
When helping children in Sub Saharan Africa we face a number of health and education issues. Below is an example case study of a disabled boy that we helped in 2010:
Liam is a four year old boy who was born with Cerebral Palsy. Liam stays with his grandmother who has been looking after him since birth.
Cerebral Palsy- This is a non-progressive condition due to damage of the immature brain during pregnancy or during birth. This result in paralysis of the muscles which are controlled by the area of the brain damaged. As a results Liam suffered this damage and has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, meaning his hand and legs are all affected.
Cerebral Palsy is non-progressive as the brain damage does not worsen, but as the child grows the disability become more evident as he fails to cope up with his increase in body size and expectation of the community of someone of his age.
On assessment Liam presented with paralysis of all limbs, he has fluctuating tone of the muscles and has no head control and as a result can not sit and roll. He can not walk, talk or communicate in any form. He has squinted eyes but can track a finger with difficulty. He is 100% dependent in all ADLs (Activities of daily living). Liam also has difficult with swallowing food (dysphasia) which many a time has resulted in chest infection due to aspiration. Because of this Liam has been in and out of hospital on several occasions.
Liam requires a multidisciplinary approach from the rehabilitation team which includes Physiotherapist, Doctors, OT, dietician and speech Therapist. This will assist Liam in minimising complications which are related to Cerebral Palsy and his integration into the community will not be more difficult. Complications related to Cerebral Palsy are:
1) Pressure sores
2) Joint contractures
3) Breathing problems
4) Joint and muscular pain etc.
Some of the equipment which will help Liam will be a special wheel chair designed to correct his posture. The wheel chair will also assist him in moving from one place to another and since his hearing is not impaired he can attend special classes whilst in his wheel chair. This will assist in exposing him to the real world where he will interact with other kids and learn from his environment.
We surely hope to continue working with Liam in Mwana Project as we feel we can make a huge impact on his social, psychological and physical wellbeing – to make his life comfortable and enjoy his life just as any child would wish for. The Love around him from the people will play a greater part.
Information compiled by:Â Mr A. Mupotaringa â�� Physiotherapist