Parents and caregivers of children born with Cerebral Palsy (CP) have decried lack of support from government and other relevant stakeholders.
The parents raised their concerns during the Cerebral Palsy commemoration that was recently held in Maun. They pleaded for more support from the relevant stakeholders including health, education and social workers as well as the land board.
They decried that they are not given enough support, and continue to struggle because of lack of recourses and the stigma they face on daily basis.
Botshelo Molefi, a parent to a 10-year-old boy living with cerebral palsy said that they have formed a support group to empower parents and caregivers to stand out and not be ashamed of their disabled children.
She indicated that taking care of a child with CP is a difficult task that needs patience and specialised resources.
She said that they are forced to leave their jobs because they are required to be present at all times for their children as a CP child has close to 10 clinical checkups in a month. The patients are seen by dieticians, psychologists and physio and occupational therapists.
Molefi said that at times when they knock on doors seeking help, they are abused verbally that they take advantage of their children’s conditions to gain charitable mileage.
Another parent to a 16-year-old CP child, Portia Kelepile said that the caregivers seem to be the ones disabled as they feel most of the pain. She pleaded that they do not need counseling, but social welfare services that will help in taking care of their children.
Maun Administrative Authority Senior Social Welfare Officer, Osenotse Lekgowa noted that while the public usually expect to be assisted immediately, that is not always possible as there are policies and procedures that need to be followed, which delay the process.
He however raised a concern that some parents tend to abandon their disabled children.
Meanwhile the Ngami DHMT Coordinator Dr Sandara Maripe assured that they will work hard to improve health services for such patients. She further encouraged caregivers and other family members living with CP children to love their children regardless of their condition adding that they should also talk them and interact with the patients even if they cannot respond and also engage them in different fun activities just like they do with normal children.
“Disability isn’t an inability, these children are also part of our future therefore, be encouraged and know that we are with you,” she said.