Story of Amahle Dovalala
Cerebral Palsy a common cause of childhood disability
Amahle Dovalala is a 16 month old little girl who has Cerebral Palsy (CP). Her mom is still at school, so her grandmother, Nophalele, looks after her and is her primary caregiver.
She lives in a village called Mkhatazo in the Eastern Cape, which is really far from even basic health services and has only accessed rehabilitation services twice since she was born. Her family is currently not receiving a social grant to helpe them care for her, but they have submitted an application to government.
The RAP team have aranged a date for this application to be We have organised a date for her grant application and will continue to monitor this as well as help her to access rehabilitation services in the area.
Around the world, the health status of people in rural areas is generally worse than that of individuals in urban areas. In South Africa, infant mortality rates in rural areas are 1.6 times higer than urban areas and more woman and children in rural areas face complications as a result of childbirth – and one of these is cerebral palsy (CP).
CP is the most common cause of childhood disability. Cerebral palsy literally means ‘brain paralysis’ and means that the individual experienced some form of damage to their brain while was still growing and developing. This damage is not progressive, but there is no surgery, medication or procedure which can heal or “cure” it. Children with CP rely on rehabilitation therapy (physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy) to help them to reach their maximum potential.
During RAP’s home visit, the team educated her grandmother about CP and why Amahle is not developing as other children her age are. They also gave her usedful tips to care for her.
“Amahle is unable to sit on her own and really struggles to eat. However, she is a very engaging little girl and responds well to being spoken to and is full of smiles. We adjusted her wheelchair so she can sit and eat in a better position.,” explains RAP Co-ordinator, Shannon Morgan. “We also showed her grandmother how to position Amahle in a bucket, so that she can sit near her when she is washing clothes or making food. This also helps her to be closer to the ground so that the other children in the community can play with her.
Nosiphiwe, Amahle’s Community Disability Worker (CDW), will now do regular home visits to this area and include her in her caseload.
The RAP team is receiving advice from experts regarding her feeding and weight, and will be assisting her grandmother with information on nutritious meals to help with her eating difficulties.