Benola Initiative enlightens Nigerians on cerebral palsy
As part of its activities, to educate the general public on the cerebral palsy disease, “The Benola: A Cerebral Palsy Initiative,” targets to bridge the gap on the general perception on cerebral palsy patients.
The Cerebral Initiative at its 4th national cerebral palsy family forum tagged “My Child has Cerebral Palsy: So, What’s next?” engaged specialists and parents of children suffering from the disorder.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. Signs and symptoms vary among people. Often, symptoms include poor coordination, stiff muscles, weak muscles, and tremors. There may be problems with sensation, vision, hearing, swallowing, and speaking. Often babies with cerebral palsy do not roll over, sit, crawl, or walk as early as other children their age. Difficulty with the ability to think or reason and seizures each occurs in about one third of people with CP. While the symptoms may get more noticeable over the first few years of life, the underlying problems do not worsen over time.
Speaking at the event was the Founder/CEO Benola, AVM (RTD) Femi Gbadebo, said: “Cerebral palsy initiative has a whole cause of bringing information, and also helps in building families and building capacity. One of the ways we found is; not just work with health care professionals, but to create forum like this where parents can come and hear from these experts and also interact with each other .We know it is a very therapeutic experience to meet other parents who are in the same situation, to form new bonds.”
Gbadebo registered his displeasures saying that Nigerians treat disability with distain.According to him the government is not doing enough for the disabled. His words: “Yes we have a few homes and few schools that are managing disabilities. They are not getting it right. It is not going to get better until we change our mind set.”
Gbadebo added: “The situation is very bad in Nigeria, but it is because of lack of education, lack of information and the understanding of our religious leaders in church and in other religious organisations. We continue to lay emphasis on total cure and forgetting the fact that it is not everything can be cured. Failing to understand even the miracle is perception of our own situation and you cannot move forward if you fail to understand your own situation.”
He said that there is no enough awareness, but in four years he believes Benola has managed to bring about a reasonable change.“The disorder can’t be cured but all we can do is reduced ignorance. We started going to schools and we just got approval from university of Lagos to start awareness programme on campus. We also penetrate co operate organization to go in there and hold talks, awareness and have them collaborate with us because we need support financially and otherwise,” said Gbadebo.
Also speaking was an ambassador of Benola; a victim of cerebral palsy Dada Afolabi, he said that there is nothing the child cannot do. He encouraged the parents to look beyond the cerebral palsy and don’t depend solely on the doctors report.
A parent, Temitope Fayombo lauded the efforts of Benola in its educative and awareness programme where parents of the children suffering from the disorder can come together and share knowledge on the disorder. She encouraged the parents to take it as fate that there is no big deal it, that what matters most is to find the potential in the child and that every child that comes to this world has a purpose. She also advised parents to pick up their wards from the disabled home and show them the necessary love and support.