Cerebral Palsy in SAARC Countries
Dr.A.K. Purohit*
Prof. & Head Department of Neurosurgery Nizam`s Institute of Medical Sciences Panjagutta, Hyderabad Phone no. 98490 54600 Email: akpcp@rediffmail.com*
India with a population of 1 billion is having roughly 25 lakh people with cerebral palsy and roughly 150 children are born every day, which later develop this disorder. There are very few therapists, physicians, surgeons, educationists, psychologists and other rehabilitation specialists who cater to the need of these children and adults. There are only a few good non-governmental organizations that look after one or two disabilities of these multiple handicapped children. The government has many other priorities, therefore the people with disabilities get very little attention and share. Presently, the parents take the child from one place to another within the city or go to different cities to get their child habilitated. During this time, they meet many specialists in search of a better treatment and in fact they get confused as to which treatment is good. Many times they find very contradicting statements from the specialists for the management strategies. The end result is utter confusion, despair and depression. Sooner or later, they land up in the hands of non-scientific, unapproved therapeutic measures. In this way, years pass and the child becomes 8-12 years old. By this time the brain gets matured. The chances of improving the condition become meager. He develops complications of spasticity and other impairments. He grows in height and weight, becomes tall and heavy. This results in difficulty in carrying and nursing the child. Now a battle to fight with these complications and biomechanical problems begin. The problem which could have been solved with one battle at an early age becomes terrible because they have to fight an additional battle to relieve the complications. The condition of these children is still more pathetic in neighboring SAARC countries. We have performed camps, visited a few centres and delivered talks in these countries. To our surprise we have found that till date recent management facilities like SPR, SMF, ITB, BT are not known to them and very few orthopedic surgeries are performed. The centres dedicated are too few to cater to the need of the society. The tools for therapeutic exercises are meager or are not available at all. The children with this disorder are left as such to suffer. In a nutshell, the condition of these children and their parents is extremely pathetic in these countries. The first step to improve the condition is discussion amongst all the professionals working in these countries, especially those who are placed in CP centres/organizations. Together, they can form a family and then jointly work to improve the Awareness about CP in the society. Therapies of these children, training of professionals and research in this field. This would help in general the cause and can solve the problem, specific to their socio-economic and geographical situations. Use of internet and telemedicine (tele cerebral palsy) can help in fast communication along with easy way to approach for education about this condition. Cerebral palsy, as we all know, is the disorder of developing brain and a proper scientific study of this disorder can unravel the mysteries which would help in solving the queries related to many other neurological diseases. The developed countries have progressed very well in the welfare of these children. This is evident from the fact that in USA alone the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy (AACPDM) was formed way back in 1947. They have good number of professionals and centres catering to the need of these children. They have extremely high research facilities and experience. This is evident from the publications coming out from them every month. The AACPDM alone is publishing 15-20 scientific articles every month in its journal. It is surprising that not a single scientific journal is published regularly from SAARC countries despite having more than 4 times the population and a proportionate cerebral palsy cases. Therefore, there is an immense need to have expertise of the developed countries extended to the children of under developed and developing countries. The exchange of experiences amongst the professionals of all countries would surely enhance the knowledge of each one of them. We need to make a global family of cerebral palsy for the welfare of all such families on this planet. Surely, this disorder cannot be eradicated like infective diseases (small pox, polio, etc). It will persist till human beings live on this planet, the earth. However, the condition can be improved and controlled by the above-mentioned strategies.
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