Cerebral Palsy:
Infantile cerebral paralysis describes an entire complex of symptoms that is based upon a central (in the brain) disturbance of the muscle coordination. The reasons for such a handicap are various, ranging from accidents, infection diseases of the brain to damages of the brain caused by a lack of oxygen during child delivery or immediately after birth. Lately, this problem has been observed more and more frequently in industrialized countries, too, given the increasing number of children being born too early and infants surviving. It is estimated that about 1 of 400 infants is affected worldwide. As various the reasons, as diverse the clinical presentation: additionally to the growing share of severely handicapped children, there are some who only have a minor spasticity and some who are only slightly or not at all limited in their intelligence. These massive, individual differences call for a targeted support of each individual patient and his/her family. In the poorest countries, like Nepal, the people affected and their relatives are often left alone and therefore very helpless in a situation that usually surpasses their monetary means and psychic strength to withstand such circumstances. It is often seen that children are left alone or that they are even locked up. However, relative simple physio- and ergo therapeutic measures taken can actually reduce the suffering to a certain extent. This has become the aim of the Self-Help Group of Cerebral Palsy in Kathmandu, which is supported by the couple Gross-Selbeck, a neurologist and physiotherapist who offer competent advice and help.
The project has a rehabilitation centre in Kathmandu, in which annually about 400 children from nearby regions receive professional, adequate treatment. Additionally to the centre, the project also has a smart outreach program: so-called home visitors are allocated to a certain district in which they search for new cases and in which they look after the already known and supported children. The children do not only receive physiotherapeutic and ergo therapeutic treatment but their parents are also advised and educated in terms of their children¿s adequate handling. The parents are encouraged to create self-help groups with other affected families so that they can exchange their experiences and ask for help; the maintenance of public relations is also important in order to avoid social exclusion of families with handicapped children. Every home visitor takes care of about 30-50 children, who are visited according to the requirements. Usually, every patient is visited twice to 20 times per year. Bimal, the project¿s manager reports: ¿Often, the parents are very critical at the beginning and try to reject the help that is offered by the people coming to their villages.¿ They are ashamed of their children¿s handicap and feel left alone. ¿After some time, the situation changes, the children make slight progress, the parents are proud and become slowly prepared to alter the ways and means of how they treat and support their children.¿ Bimal¿s joy about the fact that both children and parents are therewith helped is clearly visible. The entire family strengthens its self-confidence and experiences feelings of pride.
The Nepal Relief Association Aachen finances the home visitor program in six districts. Moreover, a motorbike was bought in Tanahu so that even more children can receive professional support.