PESHAWAR: The physiotherapists have expressed concerns over rising disabilities among children mainly due to cerebral palsy, which, they say, is manageable provided the services of experts and equipment required for physical exercises are made available at the hospitals.

“Cerebral palsy is totally manageable with panel of experts, including neurologist, physiotherapist, psychologist and occupational therapist backed by regime of physical exercises to enable the victim to become normal,” Dr Mahboobur Rehman, former head of physiotherapy department at Hayatabad Medical Complex, told a seminar here on Tuesday.

The one-day event was held at Habib Physiotherapy Complex Hayatabad.

According to Dr Mahbood, the disease, which leads to disability if it is left uncured, also happens in head injuries, trauma and in pregnancies and delivery.

He said that such special children could be turned into healthy persons if parents took pain and ensured that their children received proper treatment.

Speakers stress need for upgrading physiotherapy

“A neurologist diagnoses a patient, psychologist can work on behaviour, physiotherapist gives course of exercises for restoration of normal movement while occupational therapist helps the victim to carry out functions and if necessary gives artificial appliances,” he said.

Dr Mahboob said that services of orthotists were also needed to ensure supply of braces and splints required by people facing problems of disorders of the nerves, muscles, or bones etc.

To address the hearing and speaking issues, children needed support of speech therapists and those with visual impairment required special teachers, he said.

“Physiotherapy, a non-pharmaceutical way of treatment, has gained worldwide currency. It is used in all kinds of pains successfully. It should be upgraded to put brakes on the number of people handicapped by preventable health issues,” he said.

Dr Mahboob said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was the first province to start ‘Strengthening of Rehabilitation Programme for Physically Disabled’ in 2016 under which one male and one female physiotherapist had been deployed in 25 districts headquarters hospitals.

Dr Daud Afridi, a physiotherapist at Mahboob Medical Institute, said that cooperation and patience of parents held key to the successful treatment of the affected children as there should be no looking back when the process got underway.

“Often, people lose hope and give up when they see no improvement but the continuous support of near and dear ones of the handicapped children brings very positive impact,” he said.

He said that 33 special children were enrolled at Khushal Bagh Public School Warsak Road with 200 normal children and there was a sea change in their behavior. He added that such models should be replicated elsewhere in the province to cater to the needs of handicapped children, most of whom belonged to poor families.

Published in Dawn, December 25th, 2019

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