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World Cerebral Palsy Day (WCPY) is observed on 6th October every year. WCPY provides an opportunity to: express pride for the lives and achievements of those with cerebral palsy (CP), and the people and the organizations that support them; create a powerful voice for persons affected with CP to change their surroundings; connect organizations across the globe concerned with this problem: create social change and education campaigns; raise awareness at a local, national and international level.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy refers to a group of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect body movement and muscle coordination.

What causes cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is caused by abnormal development of part of the brain or by damage to parts of the brain that control movement. This damage can occur during pregnancy, during birth, or shortly after birth.

There are more than 17 million people living with cerebral palsy (CP) in the world. CP is the most common physical disability in childhood. It primarily affects movement, but people with CP may also have visual, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy and intellectual impairments and the impact can range from a weakness in muscles to almost a complete lack of voluntary movement. It is a complex disability: 1 in 4 children with CP cannot talk, 1 in 3 cannot walk (60% are independent ambulators, 10% walk with an aid, 30% use a wheelchair), 1 in 2 has an intellectual disability, and 1 in 4 has epilepsy. CP is a lifelong disability and there is no known cure.

Can cerebral palsy be prevented? 

While complete prevention is not yet possible, there are few things that can be done to reduce the chances of a child developing CP

  • Avoiding exposure to infections or viruses known to impact fetal health, such as rubella or zika during pregnancy
  • Getting vaccination such as rubella  before trying to get pregnant
  • Controlling underlying health issues, such as blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
  • Avoiding alcohol, cigarettes and prescription drugs which are harmful to foetus during pregnancy
  • Identifying any potential Rh incompatibility between mother and child
  • Proper medical care during delivery
  • Reducing the risk of head injury after birth

India Newborn Action Plan: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India has made a provision for prevention, early diagnosis and management of birth defects under India Newborn Action Plan (INAP), 2014 along with basic mother and child care*.          

Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) by MoHFW, GOI is an important initiative aiming at early identification and early intervention for children from birth to 18 years to cover 4 ‘D’s viz. Defects at birth, Deficiencies, Diseases, Development delays including disability.**

Key issues (that affect people with CP) to raise awareness-

  • Public awareness- To raise awareness of CP in the community and assist others to look beyond the disability.
  • Civil rights- To help in providing civil and human rights.
  • Medical /Therapeutic- To make medical treatment accessible.
  • Quality of life- To build supportive communities online, and on the ground to improve the social, economic and personal quality of life for people with CP.
  • Education- To provide proper access to education.
  • Contribution including employment- To ensure that all people with CP are able to make their contribution in the society.

Facts about CP

  • Cerebral palsy is a lifelong disability.
  • Disability may increase with age, and ageing may occur earlier.
  • Predictions of severity are most accurate at 2 years of age.
  • Without rehabilitation and orthopedic management, a person with cerebral palsy can deteriorate physically.

Importance of F-words’ in childhood disability: Function, Family, Fitness, Friends, Fun, Future

See at CEREBRAL PALSY: My Favourite Word

To know about congenital anomalies click on the link below.