Farida Bedwei, a Software Engineer, living with cerebral palsy has called on researchers to research into the lifestyles of adults with cerebral palsy.
She said: “There is no research on adults with cerebral palsy, all the research I have seen concerns children with cerebral palsy, however, the children grow to be adults and there is no information to guide their lives.”
Ms Bedwei made the call at a forum on Saturday, organized by Mr George Best Akuffo Baah, a person living with cerebral palsy to celebrate World Cerebral Palsy day on the theme: “Make Your Mark”.
Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition that affects the movement and sometimes speech of a person.
Ms Bedwei who is also an entrepreneur also urged the government to pursue the implementation of Ghana’s Inclusive Education Policy seriously
She said: “If government pursued inclusive education with the same zeal as they pursued the Free SHS programme, we would have made headway with inclusive education.”
“Many children with cerebral palsy in Ghana are refused admission into public and private schools alike, some parents are forced to lock up children with cerebral palsy in rooms to enable them go out and earn an income.”
Ms Bedwei said, “I was able to go to a government school in Korle-Gonno, 30 years ago when there was no inclusive education policy, all we need to do is to make the environment conducive for children with cerebral palsy to learn.”
Mrs Hannah Awadzi, Executive Director of the Special Mothers Project, an advocacy and awareness creation programme on cerebral palsy issues, said her concern was for the well-being of parents especially mothers of children with cerebral palsy.
She said, “If the parents are not well, mentally, the child cannot be well, we need to support families to raise children to become the Farida’s of our time.”
Mrs Awadzi called on the government to explore policies that would create a care-giver programme for families to help give especially mothers some respite while enhancing their lives.
Ms Otiko Djaba, Founder of Henry Djaba Foundation, a disability-focused organization, who chaired the forum announced that the Henry Djaba Foundation had opened its doors to children with cerebral palsy in Ghana to have a free assessment of their condition.
“We have a team of professionals working with us who will assess your child and point you to the right places for help,” she called on families nurturing children with cerebral palsy to get in touch with her organization for support.
She also urged the patrons of the forum to adopt a child with cerebral palsy and try to make a mark in their lives.
Mr Nii Anyetei Akogyeram, Ms Adwoa Dapaah Amponsah and Mr George Best Akuffo Baah, all persons living with cerebral palsy shared insights into their lives, highlighting on their abilities.
Ms Yvonne Ewurama Osei, a physiotherapist, also spoke about the importance of doing physiotherapy for a person with cerebral palsy.