The National Gender and Equality Commission has asked parents and caregivers of children suffering from cerebral palsy- a severe neurological condition that causes physical disability in human development and affect the brain before, during or after birth in Mombasa and Kilifi counties to take them to special centres where they can access care and opportunities.
The call came as NGEC officers from the disability and elderly department came face to face with grotesque images of neglected children suffering from cerebral palsy in Likoni, Kisauni, Rabai and Kaloleni sub- counties in the larger coast region during a cash transfer monitoring exercise.
In one of the homes at Kisauni, members narrated to NGEC officers the suffering they continue to undergo due to societal stigma. Mary Beka, a mother of one of the children with the condition said she could not take her 16 year old son to school since he cannot fend for himself.
“I have to stay with my son and monitor him throughout since he cannot even control his bowel system and I have to bathe him every now and then”, said a distraught Beka.
During the monitoring exercise, NGEC officers were informed of delays of up to 8 months before families could access the bimonthly stipend. Under the government social protection fund, persons with severe disabilities, orphans, vulnerable children and the elderly are entitled to Ksh. 2000 every month.
The money is disbursed through the State postal services. However it emerged that deserving persons could be missing out on the program due to lack of strict audit and monitoring measures
NGEC Chief Executive Officer Prof. Rose Odhiambo regretted that lack of education had exacerbated the plight of such children whose parents she noted were single mothers who had been expelled from their matrimonial homes by their husbands who believed that the children were either curse or possessed by evil spirits.
Professor Odhiambo advised the parents and care givers that it was only through access to the special institutions and facilities that their children could develop and improve on speech and language, mobility, functionality, self-care and independence.
NGEC has been conducting similar cash transfer monitoring exercises in Kajiado, Mombasa, Kilifi, Machakos, Kirinyaga, Marsabit, Nakuru, Vihiga and Siaya Counties.