Parents of children who are currently being treated of musculoskeletal deformities have been told that the primary responsibility of their children’s protection and welfare lies on them. The CBC Health Services Hope and Healing International Projects Child Safeguarding Officer, Mrs. Boyo Maureen was speaking on November 9, 2023, during a training with the parents and their children at the Baptist Hospital in Bafoussam.
The training was attended by the parents of 15 children who are currently being treated of musculoskeletal deformities from Bafoussam, Mbouda, and Foumbot in the West Region. The training was organized within the context of the Integrated Approach to Managing Disability from Musculoskeletal Deformities in Children.
The objective of the training was to provide psychosocial support to the parents as they journey with their children through the treatment process, which takes lots of sacrifices. The training was also aimed at encouraging parents to advocate for the rights of their children and be intentional in the protection of their children from any form of abuse both at the facility and community levels.
During the training, the Safeguarding Officer said the training was very important as children with disabilities are doubly vulnerable and susceptible to abuse than their peers without disabilities. She told the parents that they are obliged to respect the treatment protocols of their children to ensure the best treatment outcomes. The Safeguarding Officer explained the different forms of abuse to the parents including physical, sexual, psycho-social, emotional abuse, and neglect. She called on them to cherish their children, guard against abusing them, respect their rights protect them from all types of harm by others, and ensure their safety at all times.
The take-home message, Mrs. Boyo told the parents is that they should double their efforts to protect these children because they are more vulnerable than their peers without impairments. The parents for their part, expressed their joy seeing their children’s deformities being corrected. They lavished praises on CBC Health Services and Hope Healing International Canada for their children’s transformation, saying it has raised their hopes concerning the future of their children and is taking away the stigma they faced in the communities.
The parents were also schooled on record keeping to prepare and support them in carrying out vocational skills in the future.
The training ended with donated didactic materials including bags, exercise books, pens, pencils, and rulers by the Integrated Approach Project in collaboration with the Regional Delegation of Social Affairs. While handing over the materials to the children, the West Regional Delegate of Social Affairs, Njie Fidelis Ewumbue encouraged parents to consider their children with impairments as sealed treasures they will unwrap and discover through education and empowerment. He told them that as an albino, he is a person with a disability. Still, his parents never relented to educate him, the reason why he is today a Regional Delegate by merit and a role model to others.
The Training was followed by a working session with treatment staff of musculoskeletal deformities and social and community-based Rehabilitation staff who had earlier been trained to provide psychosocial support to parents of children with disabilities on site. The aim of the session was to follow up and provide them hands-on support to accomplish the training goals and support caregivers or parents whose children have successfully undergone surgical interventions.
The working session in Bafoussam was preceded by one that took place for the same cadre of staff in Ngounso Baptist Health Center the day before.