CBC Health Services sets novelty in ‘Inclusive Daycare’ Services
It is usually one thing to have a child. It is another thing to effectively take care of the child and be able to attend to other daily activities and chores. Many mothers especially those in middle and low-income countries struggle to cope with these challenges, given that they are not able to hire nannies to give them much-needed assistance. For stay-at-home mums, they manage to adapt to the situation, but for working-class women, the struggle is more pronounced as they face difficulties in where to have their children well catered for while they are away.
In recent past years in many African countries, Cameroon inclusive, the initiation of Day Care Centers has gone a long way to help parents to hold their jobs. Day Care centers have inundated many cities, with parents enrolling their children.
While some parents are able to have their children taken care of while they work, other parents are unable to enjoy the same opportunities and privileges. These are parents of children with disabilities. This is because just like some Primary, Secondary, and High schools which refuse the admission of children and youths with disabilities [with an exception of those already enlightened on Inclusive Education], Day Care centers typically receive only children who are without disabilities. This has forced parents of children with disabilities to sometimes either lose their jobs when they prioritize the welfare of their children or fail to attend to them (involuntary neglect) when they have to leave them unattended at home in search of daily bread for the family.
This is a common situation in Cameroon. The West Region of Cameroon is one of the regions with a high number of children living with disabilities. According to a survey published in 2021 by the Global Rehabilitation Services, http://fiohnetwork.org/?p=4073, there are more than 10,500 children with disabilities across all 8 divisions of the West Region. These children live with 21 different disability types, with over 75% of those surveyed not able to attend school mostly due to the financial background of parents and the myths associated with their condition.
Because of the shame associated with having a child with a disability, the parents of these children will most often keep them at home away from the public eye, criticism, and unsolicited advice which most of the times suggest that the children are evil and should be killed.
It takes a compassionate and well-informed institutions like the CBC Health Services and its partners to understand the plight of these parents and come to their rescue. The CBC Health Services is known for championing many initiatives that have brought about great changes in the lives of the vulnerable, including children, youths, and adults with disabilities. If CBC Health Services succeeds in this, it is all thanks to Strategic Partner Organizations like the Dutch-based Liliane Foundation and AFAS Foundation which work through the Empowerment and Disability Inclusive Development Program. Their support across the years has impacted lives and the impact keeps growing.
The creation of Inclusive Day Care at the Bafoussam Baptist Hospital, one of the Partner Organisations (PO) of the Empowerment and Disability Inclusive Development (EDID) Program of the CBC Health Services, goes a long way to confirm that setting the pace in different domains is the glory of the CBC Health Services and her partners.
The Day Care Center at the Hospital had been functioning, and in 2022, the Center was made inclusive. According to the Administrator of the Hospital, Mr. Fabombi Dickson, the idea of an Inclusive Day Care was borne from community experience where many parents of children with disabilities were found at home, unable to carry out their daily activities or go to work. Others locked the children at home and went for other activities.
Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) workers and the Child Protection Officer of the Hospital who came across these children, did not immediately attribute it to child abuse. Their evaluation testified that most parents love their children and will only lock them at home in search of what will make them survive. Hence, the concept of Inclusive Day Care, a concept that was immediately welcomed by the CBC Health Services Administration for implementation. Parents of children in mainstream Day Care also accepted and accommodated children with disabilities. Most importantly, international partners in disability work joined hands to make this dream come true. Now, children with disabilities are gradually receiving this care like their peers without disabilities.
The admission of children with disabilities in the Day Care has helped parents to resume their jobs. Testimonies from many parents attest to this fact as they immensely thank the initiators of this initiative. They also express their joy in gaining peer participation, improvement in the health of their children who are now being taken care of by trained personnel, the regain of their hope, and the inclusion inculcated in these children for better communities in the future.
Parents of children without disabilities are happy for this opportunity given to their peers. “It is very helpful being an inclusive center. It will start helping the children to integrate well with children with impairment. From this young age, they will not see it as a disability. This will reduce stigma in the future,” recounts Sama Achida, Nurse and Parent.
Counselors, Nutritionists, Physiotherapists, and Pastors visit this center for the proper formation of parents, and caregivers and also to attend to the health needs of the children. The Center has made provision for a hired vehicle that takes the children to the center and back. With the help of the PO and the EDID program the children’s monthly needs which amount to about 70,000 FCFA each, are well catered for. For a start, the demands are high both in transportation and provision of daily needs.
The Center is looking forward to acquiring a vehicle that can transport the children given some of the challenges faced with hired services. At the moment, the Center has 16 children (7 with disabilities and 9 without disabilities). With the growing demand from the community, there are also hopes of acquiring a building that can accommodate the children who are now hosted in a rental structure with limited facilities.
With continuous support of the Liliane Foundation in disability work in Cameroon, the future of inclusion in all aspects is feasible.