700, 000 Nigerians are living with Cerebral palsy- Prof. Afolabi Lesi

While delivering the keynote address at the inaugural Cerebral Palsy Symposium organized by Benola, a non-governmental organization, with the theme, ‘Disability management in a depressed economy: Cerebral palsy as a case study’, in Lagos, the Provost, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Prof. Afolabi Lesi, has said that about 700,000 Nigerians are living with cerebral palsy while more than 3.5 million people are directly affected by it, adding that preventing the causes of cerebral palsy was the best way of managing the condition and its harsh effect on family finances.  He has said that preventing jaundice, difficulty in establishing breathing in babies after birth, low blood sugar and other infections in infants could reduce the incidence of cerebral palsy. According to him, cerebral palsy, which is a group of disorders that affect the brain of an infant, arises from complications that occur during pregnancy and childbirth. He said, “It costs about N141, 000 and N891, 000 for one person with the condition to access basic health care in a public and private health facility annually. In a recession, prevention presents a better outcome than rehabilitation. If we can prevent children from having birth asphyxia, jaundice and other infections, we can prevent the condition. “High-risk pregnancies are better managed in hospitals. I know that some women give birth at home, but if a pregnancy is not naturally smooth, the risk of the baby having cerebral palsy is there.’’
Lesi has also urged Government to enact a policy that targets families and individuals living with neuro-developmental challenges to augment their rehabilitation costs and to save them from neglect. In his address, the Chief Executive Officer, Benola, Air Vice-Marshal Femi Gbadebo, has said that people living with cerebral palsy could surmount challenges associated with the condition. He also called on government, philanthropists and corporate organizations to support initiatives that advocate for people living with developmental challenges.

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