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World Cerebral Palsy Day 2016

Health Watch   - G J E 4
Highlights
  • Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the physical disability that affects movement and posture
  • 17 million people with cerebral palsy worldwide
  • World CP day is held on the first Wednesday each October

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder affecting movement, muscle tone, gross and fine motor skills. It is the most common childhood disability.
World Cerebral Palsy Day 2016
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There are nearly 17 million children and adults living with CP across the globe. According to the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy, there are approximately 33,000 people with CP with 1 in 500 live births each year.

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CP is usually ascribed to brain damage before or at the baby's birth or sometimes in the first 5 years. Such brain damage also impacts other abilities causing problems with vision, hearing, speech and learning. Children may also experience epileptic seizures and other neurological disturbances.

Children and adults with CP may require crutches or wheelchair support for movement though not all experience profound disability. CP also does not interfere with a person's life expectancy.

Though CP has no cure it can be managed through surgeries, rehabilitation and other therapies. Early intervention and treatment can improve capabilities and build up strengths. Surgeries can often correct structural defects and improve muscle tone.

Occupational therapy and speech therapy often improve quality of life and enable individuals to participate in a range of life activities.

Individuals with CP can make use of a range of devices like braces, orthotics, rolling walkers and computers with voice synthesizers to participate in activities. People with CP should be made to involve in all life activities with as much participation to empower their existing strengths and skills.

World Cerebral Palsy (CP) Day 2016

World Cerebral Palsy Day is marked on the first Wednesday in October each year. This year 5th October is celebrated as World CP Day. This day marks the coming together of CP communities and organizations across more than 50 countries to show solidarity and support to people with CP and their families.

The vision for this day is to garner support for access and equality of opportunity for all people with CP across the globe. People with CP can participate in regular life activities with proper support and access. This day is a platform to advocate for access and justice.

World CP Day is an initiative of the World Cerebral Palsy Initiative which is a group of non-profit organizations with a vision to create a more accessible world for people with CP. Some of the organizations in India associated with this initiative include:
  • Mysore Spastic Society
  • ADAPT
  • Aaina
  • Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy
  • Recoup Neuro Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Centre
  • Vidya Sagar
The concept of a day dedicated to global awareness of CP has various objectives. It presents an opportunity to advocate for the cause of CP and make the public aware of the surrounding issues. It is a platform for patients and families to voice their concerns and make themselves heard. The global initiative has also connected different global organizations to come together and share ideas and support each other.

Globally people with CP have been denied access and equality of opportunities when it comes to education, employment, health and housing. Empowering patients, families and linking them to advocacy organization enables a powerful platform to vocalize such issues and fight for their rights. The coming together to mark a dedicated day also gives the global community a sense of solidarity and dispels the feeling that one is alone in the fight.

The day marks a celebration of the community and people who have scaled all barriers to achieve great heights. The highlighting of individual achievements on such occasions inspire others in the community to maximize their talents and strengths. India has a number of CP heroes and heroines who continue to inspire us. One such amazing woman is Malini Chib (48) author of One Little Finger chronicling her journey with CP. This book is the inspiration for award winning film Margarita with a Straw directed by Shonali Bose. Such books, films and personalities not only educate the public but also advocate for an inclusive society which values and respects diversity.

CP organizations across the world are fighting prejudices, biases and disabling barriers. Such organizations engage with society, governments, non-governmental organizations and private sector to create opportunities and access for people with CP. These organizations also advocate for disability laws which can provide for equality of opportunity. Special days like World CP Day is a call to action to our communities and societies that we need to develop inclusive values and create an equal opportunity society for all.

References:
  1. Information on Cerebral Palsy - (http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/cerebral-palsy.html)
  2. About Cerebral Palsy Day - (https:worldcpday.org/about-us/)
  3. Cerebral Palsy Alliance - (https:www.cerebralpalsy.org.au/)
  4. Cerebral Palsy Information Page - (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cerebral_palsy/cerebral_palsy.htm)
Source: Medindia
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