Cerebral Palsy in Nepal

Nepal’s hidden catastrophe cp With a comparatively high incidence of the condition, and with cerebral palsy individuals facing acute discrimination and exclusion from mainstream society, cerebral palsy is Nepal’s ‘hidden catastrophe’. International studies

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estimate the incidence of cerebral palsy to be 2-2.5 per 1,000 people, but in Nepal this may be considerably higher. Cerebral Palsy Nepal estimates the incidence to be around 3 per 1,000 people, with at least 70,000 Nepalis with the condition. Poor medical care, poor nutrition, high illiteracy and poor education of mothers may all contribute to this high figure, as well as a high mortality rate. Individuals with cerebral palsy may suffer exclusion from education, health services and social security benefits. Inaccessible buildings, a lack of technical adaptions such as splints, and Nepal’s mountainous terrain are further factors affecting the mobility of cerebral palsy individuals. Furthermore, cerebral palsy is a highly stigmatising condition in Nepal. Despite the efforts of CP Nepal and other organisations in raising awareness, beliefs such as cerebral palsy being punishment for sins in a past life, or as a source of bad luck, are still common, while mothers of cerebral palsy children often suffer ridicule from relatives. The harsh economic realities of Nepal also contribute to a situation in which individuals with cerebral palsy are often thought of as a burden on their families. Through our range of programmes focusing on the prevention, awareness and management of cerebral palsy, we are working to address this situation.