Parents and caregivers of Children Living with Cerebral Palsy (CP) in Cameroon have expressed their joys, expectations and hope for their children who have been beneficiaries of the(S)upport (T)ools (E)nabling (P)arents – STEP Approach. The STEP Approach, which seeks to ensure the better rehabilitation and care of children with CP also works at improving the process of caregiving, thereby making life more comfortable for both the children and their families.
Cerebral Palsy is one of the most common causes of disability in children in Cameroon. Unfortunately, it is given the least attention. The Cameroon Baptist Convention, thanks to support of its strategic partner the Liliane Foundation, has through the Empowerment and Disability Inclusive Development (EDID) program mapped out strategies to better attend to the needs of this vulnerable neglected group of children with disabilities caused by neurological disorders.
The EDID program offers interventions to children with different forms of disability with CP topping the chart of interventions. This increase has been attributed to the STEP approach, which has enhanced not only numerical progress but also rendered visible improvements and recorded quality of care.
In July and August 2020, a team comprising of the CBC Health Services’ Physiotherapy (PT) Supervisor, a Journalist/Head of the Communication Unit, PT Staff and Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Field Workers have been involved in a tour to families of children living with CP. The purpose of the visits have been to have a proper assessment of the progress registered by the CP cases who were enrolled at the start of the project in 2018, record testimonies from caregivers, and measure the usefulness of the program to beneficiaries and Field workers. This will help inform the management of the program as they work towards scaling up the program to reach out to other children with CP in Cameroon, and empower caregivers/parents with effective care giving strategies.
The visits took the team to all the regions implementing the STEP Approach in Cameroon – Center, Littoral, Adamawa, West, Southwest and Northwest Regions. Field stories have been testimony of the success recorded by this approach and a scale up will go a long way to continue improving the quality of care as they reach out to many more Cerebral Palsy children in need.
The parents of these children and the communities where the children live have been very appreciative of the work done by the STEP Approach. They have unanimously sent their thank you messages to the CBC Health Services, the EDID program, and above all, the Liliane Foundation to give hope to these children who, otherwise, would have been a burden to themselves, their families and communities.