First Cerebral palsy scouts unit launched in Kenya
By Our Reporter
Cerebral Palsy Society of Kenya (CPSK) in partnership with the Kenya Scouts Association has today launched the first national and regional Cerebral Palsy Scouts Unit.
A first nationally and regionally CPSK unveiled the only Scouts unit for children with cerebral palsy at the CPSK secretariat in Donholm – Nairobi. Cerebral Palsy Society of Kenya or CPSK is a charitable Organization working towards the improvement and welfare of children and persons afflicted by cerebral Palsy (CP) in the Country. The Society was formed in 1994 and has remained steadfast in its endeavor to enable as many children as possible live more fulfilling lives. Dorothy Wanjiru, Chairperson and Co-founder, CPSK said, ”This is an amazing milestones for the CPSK team, living with cerebral palsy doesn’t make anyone a lesser human being. Our children who are joining the scouts movement today are part of the community and inclusivity is the hallmark of the human race in this 21st century”
Seven out of 10 cerebral palsy cases are below 12 years old, CP is the most common physical disability in childhood and is widely misunderstood. CP may come with, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy among other impairments. People living with CP and their families experience a range of mostly negative responses from others in the society especially in public. Kenya Scouts Embakasi West Sub-County Commisoner said, ‘We jumped at the opportunity to include children with cerebral palsy into the scouts fraternity, we endeavour to ensure all chidlren feel accepted and through this initiative our children in the scouts unit will learn inclusivity and will beambassadors of creating awarenss among their peers, this is a splendid way to teach our children that they should engage and support one another despite backgrounds or health status.’
Only 14% of the general public are aware of cerebral palsy. 4 out of 10 people are completely unaware of any special school admitting children with cerebral palsy. CPSK provides highly subsidized therapy session for children and persons afflicted.
The CPSK Special Needs Education program ensures that learners afflicted with CP can still attain their realized potential. The CPSK Special Unit currently has admitted over 40 learners, whereas the therapy clinic sees over 120 children monthly at the clinic and 70 youngsters/adults on the outreach program.
Insurance companies do not cover cerebral palsy. Caregivers are forced to dig deeper into their pockets for frequent therapy sessions. The cost of therapy is very high especially in private hospitals who charge up to 3,000/= per session, government hospitals charge about 400/= and private therapist charge about 1,500/= In most cases, CP children require therapy thrice a week.
CPSK is working with like-minded partners to advocate and work towards attaining specific legislation and policies that will take significant action to ensure the rights of persons with CP are protected. CPSK is ensuring that those with CP get National Identification cards, have a right to vote, run businesses, access to information, transportation, education and medical attention.
Cerebral palsy is commonly caused by asphyxia neonatorum or a lack of oxygen to the brain during labor and delivery, gene mutations that result in abnormal brain development, severe jaundice in the infant, maternal infections, such as german measles and herpes simplex and brain infections such as encephalitis and meningitis.
It is estimated that three out of 100 births have CP. In Kenya, the government offers KSh2000 cash transfer stipend per child per month but it is never regular. This inadequacy has meant that the general public join in by participating in CPSK activities, volunteer their services, make monthly or annual individual donation. CPSK is a champion towards this end.