The Support Tool Enabling Project (STEP) evaluation team has commended the CBC Health Services for extending services in the community which is greatly beneficial to the less privileged. The Occupational Therapists, Lyndal Alanzeder and Kate Cherry from South Africa were speaking at the end of an evaluation visit to the West and Center Regions where the project has been piloted for one year.
According to the evaluators, the objective of the visit was to get an appraisal from the direct beneficiaries and stakeholders of the project on the impact of interventions, lessons learned during the project phase and recommendations on how it can be improved.
The visit took them to 3 homes in the Centre Region and 9 in the West Region during which the parents of children with Cerebral Palsy shared their challenges in taking care of their children given that it is a condition that cannot be fixed but can only be managed. Parents took turns to share the stories of their children from birth till present.
“It was so difficult to accept that my child may never walk because of her condition, given that her biological mother abandoned her upon delivery to me and left. I have got to let go off my farm work just to take care of the child.” This was expressed in sadness by the grandmother of Rejoice, a child living with CP. Her face, however, brightened up when she explained how the fieldworker has been working with her to rehabilitate the child who can now sit on her own even though the progress is so slow but she has accepted it.
“It is difficult for me because she takes a lot of my time when I am feeding her. I wish she can one day be able to eat and walk like other children,” says the loving brother of Emmanuella who puts in a lot of energy to assist her mother and give Emmanuella a better life. Her mother also quizzed to know from the Occupational Therapists if CP cannot be cured abroad and was informed that there is no cure but the management of the situation, given the damage done on the child’s brain. Scientific research, the therapists added, has not yet found a solution to this problem but hope that there will be some good news in the future.
Listening to all the stories in the field, the evaluators with their rich therapeutic background provided the parents and field workers with some skills on how to better improve on the functionality of the children. The parents and field workers appreciated these skills given that for the field workers, it is going to add value to their work.
Both visits in the Centre and West Regions wrapped up with a feedback session with the field workers and Physiotherapy Assistants in their respective hospitals. This gave them the opportunity to share their experiences on the project and recommendations which will improve on the next phase of the project in Cameroon and other countries where the project is being implemented.
The evaluators expressed satisfaction after this meet-the-families tour of children with CP. To them, the objectives were met in the field. They encouraged continuous access to services by clients, while noting that the lessons learned from the pilot phase of the project will be shared and replicated in other places.
The staff members on the other hand expressed gratitude to the Liliane Foundation and the STEP project. The collaboration of parents to ensure a better life for their children is evident in all families, and with continuous enablement, love and happiness will continue to reign.