Cerebral Palsy is a physical disability shown in the movement of the muscles. The disorder, according to the statistics from United Nations, affected about eighteen million people globally in 2022.
Celebrated on October 6, Cerebral Palsy also exists in Nigeria and affects about nine hundred persons annually with a record of a case every one hour of child birth.
The victims of this disorder are expected to have difficult in movement and speech defect, two symptoms that makes it difficult for them to be a part of the community seamlessly.
The stigmatization from the community has aided the rise of the disorder globally, as parents and victims are shy to engage in social activities among their peers.
In Kwara state, North Central Nigeria, the welfare director of Kwara state Social Development Ministry, James Kayode David, explained the meaning of Cerebral Palsy and the cause of the disorder.
He said “Cerebral palsy is a disorder. The cerebral that has to do with brain and palsy means disorder. Cerebral palsy is a sort of physical disability which is shown in the movement of the muscle.”
“Cerebral palsy is not really caused by a particular thing. It’s a congenital problem. During the pregnancy stage, when there’s a sort of injury to the brain. That part of the brain that is affected maybe the part that controls the muscles and as a result, it will emanate just after the birth or months after the birth.”
He added that “When there’s a use of drug, it can affect. When there’s a breached birth, it can cause it. When there’s insufficient oxygen during the birth process, it may also affect the brain.”
Mr. David also highlighted the symptoms of cerebral palsy, noting that “they may have difficulty in movement, speech defect. They may not be able to walk. They may not be able to talk. They may have slight eye defect and things like that. They may have coordinating defect as well. They may have inability to deal with much academic work.”
Speaking on ways to prevent the disorder, the director said the victims should avoid use of drug during pregnancy and visit the hospitals for medication during childbirth.
He said; “They should avoid use of drugs. They should be careful. They should do necessary visitations to the hospital for their medication especially during the childbirth so that they will not have breached birth and other issues.”
While explaing precaution to prevent the rise of the disorder, he warned that “Cerebral palsy cannot be cured but managed.”
However, a champion of cerebral palsy, Ifeoluwa Anise, analyzed the challenges faced by the society.
He said; “Some of the challenges I face is stigma from the society because majority of the society lack the awareness or the orientation about people living with cerebral palsy or people living with any disorder generally. Whenever they see me, even some little children, they can run away.”
“The other thing is whenever we finish school, there is the problem of getting a job because some companies are not ready to accept anybody with challenges. While going in the community, sometimes, the commuters won’t want to carry me. Maybe they feel that I won’t pay or I’ll fall down, something like that.”
Anise further stated that; “Anybody that is a cerebral palsy champion should not look down on himself. The parents of the persons living with disability should encourage these children and even if they have siblings, let their siblings know that they are part of them.”
With the disorder rising annually, Kwara state has 14 persons with cerebral palsy in their care in 2022 but urged parents and victims of cerebral palsy in Kwara state to consult the Kwara State Social Development Ministry in a bid to help manage the disorder which is present in its sixteen local government areas.