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Case history, Feeding Antoine more than milk

At CNAO in Lomé, around 500 new cerebral palsy-affected children receive a consultation and physiotherapy sessions every year. Unfortunately, only around 10 to 15 % of the patients still attend physiotherapy sessions on a regular basis after one year. It has been estimated that in West Africa around 20% of CP children are dying from diverse complications such as respiratory disorders and malnutrition due to feeding problems. There is also a lack of knowledge about this condition, which is often seen as the result of witchcraft and is not properly explained to parents by health workers and doctors. To address these issues, modular training sessions for mothers are implemented with SFD support, to empower family members so that they can take care of these children in an effective manner and to provide them with as much information as possible. Modules cover the following: introductory information; evaluating your child; communication; play; feeding your child; daily life activities; positioning your child.

Antoine* was malnourished. He had trouble swallowing and his mother was still feeding him only milk even though he was already 3 years old. Eating anything else was too challenging for him. The CNAO physiotherapist taught the mother how to position her child in an appropriate manner to make him eat more efficiently, and the speech therapist gave her advice on how to address the swallowing problems to help diversify his food intake. The sessions were very fruitful: for instance, Antoine eventually managed to eat some food without coughing.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

Antoine’s mother learns how best to feed her child suffering from cerebral palsy (CP). It is vital to see the patient as a 'whole'. This is why the SFD promotes a team approach to rehabilitation.

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