On 14 March 2018, we celebrated the longstanding relationship between the Australian High Commission of Ghana and the OTC. This joyous occasion was held to officially hand over equipment donated to the OTC’s new Day Care and Therapy Centre for children with Cerebral Palsy by the Ghana Australia Association. Our honored guests included Mrs. Therese Barnes, wife of the Australian High Commissioner, Ms. Claire Maizonnier from the High Commission, and Mrs. Elizabeth Muntar, a representative of the Ghana Australia Association.
Members of the Ghana Australia Association not only located this special equipment, but they also packed and paid for the shipment to Ghana, including the clearance at the port. This was no small task because, as you can see from the photos, the cartons for this equipment were not small!
OTC is so grateful to the Ghana Australia Association for raising the funds to help us as we build the only centre in the Nsawam community area where children with cerebral palsy can be treated with physio and occupational therapy. A limited number also stay for the day so that their parents can work. The children who are in our daycare are given transportation, meals, and their afternoon bath before returning home in the evening.
OTC Director Sister Elizabeth Newman SSND attended a conference a few years ago. It was there that she learned some staggering statistics about cerebral palsy. In the developed world one child is born with cerebral palsy in 500 live births. However, here in Ghana the rate is much higher at one in every 300 live births. The great need for help was obvious, as the number of children being brought to the OTC for care kept increasing. As always, OTC stayed true to its core mission: to care for children with orthopedic needs, no matter what.
With determination, hard work, and many organizations coming together in support, the new daycare center opened. Now it has specialized wheelchairs, standing equipment, and positioning seats, all sized for children. Some are even made to look like small animals, very attractive and child friendly, encouraging the children to use them.
Moms Make It Happen
The key to the early success of the new centre is the involvement of the parents. Those who come faithfully, learn from the therapists how best to work with the children in order to help them overcome their challenges. Moms and even some Dads come, but it is mainly the Moms who are the leaders in care. The love they have for their children is great. You can feel it when they bring their children into the centre. They are patient, they laugh and play with their child, and they are eager to learn more about their child’s needs.
As Sister Elizabeth said to us, “If you want to change attitudes and how we treat children with disabilities, gather a group of dedicated women together, and they will get the job done.”
The work has only just begun, but with leadership from the OTC, the expertise and compassion of dedicated therapists, and support from organizations like the Ghana Australia Association, the center is off to a running start. That combination, together with strong and faithful family love, guarantee that the new OTC Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy will achieve its mission of making a significant, positive change in the lives of those it serves.