In Kenya in general disabilities are still perceived as a form of punishment and some still believe that greater religious belief will cure the illness. The stigma causes some parents to hide their children, which further hinders the child’s development, but also isolates the parent(s).
The general public is uneducated and thus unsure about how to behave towards a disabled child and/or the parents. This further alienates the family from the rest of the society.
Education in Ukunda does not allow for the inclusion of disabled children into the mainstream, but Special Needs Units are not operating in this region of Kenya. This often precludes children with even mild disability to attend school and so the cycle of ignorance continues.
The existing treatment facilities (Diani Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy) where limited treatments are offered are, in our opinion, sub-standard and unsuitable for children with other health complications. This in turn makes parents of those children feel inadequate and unequal.
The access roads are often, in rainy season, impassable and parents are thus unable to attend clinics for months at a time. Even when the roads are of decent condition, transport with a disabled child is often difficult and sometimes impossible.
Lastly, the medical advice when given to parents is often confusing, inaccurate and contradictory. The parents do not understand the language used, are unsure about their medical options and are frightened by the potential costs of treatments. No insurance or other financial support is given to children with CP is offered, which in many cases, precludes parents from accessing health care and/or buying specialised equipment.
Cerebral Palsy Ukunda is aiming to equal the difference between the level and quality of care given to people with disabilities, bridge the divide between the two groups and help re-intergrate parents into the general society.