Cerebral Palsy Training with Parents

|   Disability

CCBRT’s latest cerebral palsy training will make a huge difference for families in Tanzania. Cerebral palsy (CP) – a condition caused by brain injury developed around birth, limits a child’s development and mobility as they grow: something our own physical and occupational therapists working in communities around Dar es Salaam and Moshi frequently see. Because of a lack of skills and knowledge about this complex disability among parents, many children with CP and their families often struggle to manage the condition day to day, limiting children’s chances for participation in day to day life as they grow. Resources are also scarce: many children do not have access to therapy or assistive devices.

For 10 days, Motivation – a charity working with community-based organisations to improve the lives of people living with mobility-limiting conditions – sent one of its trainers from South Africa, facilitated by our partners ICRC MoveAbility. Sue Fry, a master trainer in Parent Care Training (PCT) led a 4-day session for physiotherapists and occupational therapists from CCBRT’s Disability Hospital and Moshi rehabilitation facility on how to work with parents and impart the knowledge in skills to empower themselves and their families. For the next 4 days, parents and their children with CP were brought in and therapists worked directly with them on ways to handle their children during daily activities like washing and feeding.

The emphasis throughout the training was on having parents feel confident enough to continue using these techniques as their child grows, without having to depend on CCBRT for support. This is part of CCBRT’s evolving approach to community based rehabilitation: putting skills in the hands of parents to ensure that appropriate care is sustained. CCBRT’s Social & Empowerment Programme Manager, Naeli Mbiru, said: “CCBRT is focusing on empowering parents to handle their children better, and ensuring they can continue this approach back home. The training has gone really well.”

Parents gained confidence and increased interactions with their child. One participant, Stella, brought her baby Shija to the training. She commented on what she had gained from the 4 days: “Before attending this training I knew nothing – now I know my baby has cerebral palsy. When I used to feed him his body would twist around, but now I’ve learnt how to hold him and he is stable.”

For more information on the training programme, “Getting to Know CP”, developed at the International Centre for Evidence in Disability (ICED), London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and disseminated through Motivation, click here.