CBM – 6 Months on - Disabled Children Most Vulnerable in Haiti

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Programs for children living with a disability are vital in countries like Haiti.

Peter Skelton (Physiotherapist) with Sebastian

CBM, with the help of other international supporters, set out to establish 10 Child Day Care Centres (CDCCs) to address the needs of children - especially children with disabilities - in post quake Port Au Prince.

CBM says that children with disability are particularly vulnerable in emergency situations and require focused protection measures. Access to non formal education and child centered spaces is particularly critical for children with disability and children who are injured, as they are likely to be left out of relief efforts. Children with and without disability have gone through a highly traumatic experience and are at risk in developing psychological trauma.

When the earthquake struck Port Au Prince, CBM immediately mobilised to provide support to children and adults with disabilities through its partners on the ground in Haiti through the establishment of a country coordinating office for emergency relief and through coordination with other national and international organisations and bodies focused on emergency response, vulnerable populations and disability.

CBM, with the help of other international supporters, set out to establish 10 Child Day Care Centres (CDCCs) to address the needs of children - especially children with disabilities - in post quake Port Au Prince. The children in these day care centres have access to a safe place, non formal education, play, therapy and follow-up care based on individual needs, and are referred as appropriate for more complex medical needs. While access to therapy and assistive devices for children with physical disabilities is clearly needed, other needs are often less visible but equally important. For example, children with epilepsy need access to medication. Supply of medication was affected by the extensive infrastructure damage caused by the earthquake.

Staff from CBM’s partner the Center for Special Education (CES) work in these centers and oversee the day to day monitoring and management of the centers. CBM’s country coordinating office provides technical and logistic support as appropriate.

Parents report that their children had missed the interaction with the other children in the weeks following the earthquake and being able to attend the CDCCs is bringing a sense of normalcy and happiness back to their lives. Parents appreciate the fact that there is a safe, supportive and loving environment for their children.

CBM’s advisers in the areas of mental health and physical disabilities conducted support visits and prepared recommendations for next steps. These recommendations take into account best practice in the field, local staff input and key stakeholder input.

CBM, the overseas disability charity, believe it is vital for disabled people to have the same opportunities as non disabled people. CBM acts upon the needs and rights of people with disabilities and supports the provision of more than 800 projects in more than 90 countries. It is estimated that CBM reaches out to 23 million people worldwide across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, and South America.

Wherever possible, it is CBM’s aim to provide these services within their communities and therefore Community-Based Rehabilitation programmes are provided where possible to leave communities with a legacy of skills.

Our focus is on the prevention and treatment of diseases wherever possible, and on education and rehabilitation so that people with disability can be included into their society as equals and lead a largely independent life.

CBM always works in partnership with national and local organisations and provides an important advocacy link for people who have a sensory or physical disability, to their respective governments.

CBM helps children reach their full potential
CBM has been at the frontline, supporting, protecting and encouraging children with disabilities since it began in 1908. This was when Ernst Jacob Christoffel (1876-1955), opened the first home for people who were blind, hearing impaired and those with physical disabilities in Malatya, Turkey.

In 1996 CBM UK was established. For more info visit: http://www.cbmuk.org.uk or

About CBM

CBM works with over 700 partners in over 90 countries and reaches out to more than 23 million people each year. CBM is recognised by the World Health Organisation and supports over 800 projects.

CBM, the overseas disability charity, works to improve the lives of people with disabilities in the world’s poorest communities. Our goal is to empower people to change their own lives. Based on its Christian values and over 100 years of professional expertise and experience, CBM addresses poverty as a cause and consequence of disability, and works in partnership to create a society for all. CBM helps people regardless of their religious beliefs.

For further information please contact:
CBM Tel: 01223 484700 Viv Ayas (mobile: 07986 606025) or Gill Godber (mobile: 0771 511 3017)

CBM Information For Editors

What We Do
CBM acts upon the needs and rights of people with disabilities and supports the provision of more than 800 projects in over 90 countries. It is estimated that CBM reaches out each year to over 23 million people worldwide across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America.
Wherever possible, it is the aim to establish access to these services within the communities and to empower communities to change their own lives.

Cause & Prevention
Our focus is on the prevention and treatment of diseases wherever possible, and on education and rehabilitation so that people with disability can be included into their society as equals and lead a largely independent life.

CBM always works in partnership with national and local organisations and provides an important advocacy link between the blind, deaf and physically disabled and their respective governments. http://www.cbmuk.org.uk

Children with physical disabilities
CBM focuses on activities which prevent and treat diseases that can lead to disability in children. Also, as a result of negative attitudes, prejudices and stigma held about disability, children with disabilities in low-income countries are often marginalised and cannot access education and healthcare services. This can result in exclusion from future employment.

  •     Children with physical disabilities are three times more likely to die in childhood than their non-disabled peers

Why are there so many children with physical disabilities?
There are an estimated 2 million children in low-income countries with modest to severe physical disabilities. Many of these children have preventable or treatable conditions.

The main causes of physical disabilities found in children are:

  •     Congenital disabilities: Birth defects – such a clubfoot or cleft palate - are common, severely disabling if not treated, and yet easily cured if identified early.
  •     Cerebral Palsy (CP) – CP is more common in low-income countries due to improper birthing techniques, malnutrition and malaria. Supporting and enabling the family to use physiotherapy with their child who has CP, can vastly improve their movement and muscle control.
  •     Infections which are not diagnosed and treated early, such as TB, can result in severe damage to bones and joints resulting in physical disability.
  •     Accidents leading to poorly treated and set fractures that have not healed in the correct position.
  •     Burns that result in scarring and contractures of skin and joints.

What does CBM do to reduce the incidence of physical disabilities in children?

CBM intervenes to forestall conditions that lead to disability. It offers surgery, physiotherapy, and orthopaedic equipment to improve the mobility of children with physical disabilities and get them back on the move again. This involves:

  •     Creating awareness and providing health education;
  •     A focus on prevention of disability, including promotion of better quality and more accessible ante-natal services;
  •     Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) to assist individuals with physical disabilities and their families to access health and education services and livelihood opportunities;
  •     Early detection to identify children who need treatment, for example, children with club foot and cleft lip;
  •     Early intervention to promote good treatment of fractures, burns and bone infections;
  •     Cost-effective and good quality interventions, providing specialist surgical services for common and treatable conditions.

CBM works with skilled national staff and where necessary will provide partners with specialist co-workers to develop training programmes for local level staff.

All press enquiries: CBM Tel: 01223 484700
Gill Godber (mobile: 0771 511 3017) or Viv Ayas (mobile: 07986 606025)

Contact:

Contact Person: Viv Ayas or Gill Godber
Organisation: CBM UK
Telephone Number:    01223 484700
Mobile Number: Viv Ayas: 07986 606026
Gill Godber: 0771 511 3017 OR 07912 360827
Email Address:    viviennea(at)cbmuk(dot)org(dot)uk or gillg(at)cbmuk(dot)org(dot)uk
Web site address: http://www.cbmuk.org.uk

Media Tool Kit: http://www.cbmarchive.org/?c=97&k=435b4af751 (All photographs to be credited to CBM.)

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Vivienne Ayas

Gill Godber
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