'Remove the word untreatable from your dictionary'

Dow University of Health Sciences to host cerebral palsy conference from Friday

Our Correspondent March 30, 2016
Dow University of Health Sciences to host cerebral palsy conference from Friday. PHOTO: https://www.facebook.com/Dow.University

KARACHI: Medical experts say that 10 per cent of the country's population faces different kinds of disabilities and the number is going up but a majority of people are unaware of the importance of the rehabilitation process.

Dow University of Health Sciences' (DUHS) Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (IPMR) is set to host the second International Cerebral Palsy Conference from Friday. National and international experts will participate in the conference.

"People don't bring disabled persons to hospitals due to lack of awareness," said Prof Rana Qamar Masood, director of DUHS's quality enhancement cell. "Remove the word untreatable from [your] dictionary," she urged, saying several disabled persons work efficiently and play a very positive role in the society. "We have to treat our physically and mentally disabled children," urged IPMR director Prof Nabeela Soomro. She said that persons with any kind of disabilities are treated at the facility, which is the first institution to offer rehabilitation services. Speaking at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Wednesday, the panel of experts said that the number of disabled patients in Pakistan is going up due to various reasons such as diabetes, hypertension, pre-mature births, bomb blasts, earthquakes, traffic accidents, violence and congenital abnormalities. They said that the conference aims to bring professionals working with cerebral palsy on a single platform to establish better communication and sharing of expertise in order to enhance effective rehabilitation services provided to cerebral palsy patients.

The theme of the conference is 'From Palsy to Power', which reflects its main objective - to shift individuals affected by cerebral palsy from being dependant to being independent functional members of society.

Prof Soomro said that approximately 127,159 patients were rehabilitated at IPMR from 2007 to 2016 and the total number of children with cerebral palsy registered at IPMR was 9,300. Currently, she added, 400 such children were registered. According to speakers, cerebral palsy is a chronic disability of central nervous system characterised by aberrant control of movement, posture, muscle coordination and balance, along with cognitive functions appearing in infancy. The rate of cerebral palsy in single births is 2.1 per 1000 live births, in multiple births is 7.5 per 1000 and in low birth weight is 80 per 1000.

"These children can be treated if they are brought to the hospital on time," said Prof Soomro, adding that it was the responsibility of the parents to get their children treated. Prof Masood said that scores of disabled persons are left at the mercy of nature and parents believe that they cannot be treated. Such persons, she pointed out, play a pivotal role in developed countries due to the availability of rehabilitation facilities.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st,  2016.


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