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Josephine's story

“She could not sit. She could not talk. Her movement was very limited and she was sick all of the time."

Before welcoming her daughter into the world, Josephine’s mother experienced a prolonged and difficult birth. This is commonplace for mothers in rural northern Ghana, with expectant parents often unaware of available services and maternal health facilities hard to reach in rural areas.

As a result, Josephine was born with Cerebral Palsy and Hydrocephalus, both conditions directly related to her mother’s pregnancy and childbirth. As she grew it was clear her coordination, mobility and speech development were slower than other children.

“She could not sit. She could not talk. Her movement was very limited and she was sick all of the time.

She had a very weak neck because of the extra weight from the fluid on her brain, due to Hydrocephalus”, explains Joe, the AfriKids project manager who has become close to Josephine's family over the recent years.

When Josephine's parents heard about the specialist AfriKids-run clinic for children with disabilities, they began to bring her every week. She was first assessed and then a support plan was put in place by experienced community rehabilitation worker, William. William has specific experience working with children living with cerebral palsy and has been supporting AfriKids' work for a number of years now. He provides critical, tailored support for each child, including weekly massage therapy to keep their skin supple and help joints stay mobile.

William explains how he also works with parents.

“The parents, I always teach them how to do the [massage] training at home. Most of the mothers now know what they are doing.”

Each child is provided with bespoke disability equipment to support them on their journey to sitting and standing. Every month, William assess whether the child needs a new frame as they grow bigger. The equipment is crafted out of local materials, such as cardboard and cassava flour, which are easily available and affordable.

“We teach them how they can be using the sitting devices and the standing frames. Each child is having one of each. We make them here and give it to them.”

Josephine’s mother, Ruth describes the improvements she has seen in her daughter.

“Josephine is maturing remarkably in mind and body. I can visibly see a lot of improvements and changes in her. Thank you so much for all the process, for the medical care, the treatment."

"You can see for yourself how she can sit well, now you can see she is a healthy child; she is laughing. For everything, we are so happy.”

Given Joe's close relationship with the family, Josephine is always excited to see him. He describes, “Josephine will draw everyone’s attention to an oncoming AfriKids bike and will be seen smiling from ear to ear. Josephine is now doing great. She can sit well, she can also crawl. We picked the form this month and soon she will be enrolled in school.”

 

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AfriKids UK Head Office:
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London
WC1B 5HA
United Kingdom

+44 (0) 207 269 0740

AfriKids Ghana Head Office:
PO Box 166
Bolgatanga
Upper East Region
Ghana

+233 (0) 3820 97134

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Registered NGO in Ghana: DSW/3024
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