The Kenya Scouts Association has announced that it has launched the first scouts unit for children with cerebral palsy in Kenya. The unit has been launched in partnership with the Cerebral Palsy Society of Kenya (CPSK).

The unit was launched at the CPSK secretariat in Donholm, Nairobi. Dorothy Wanjiru, Chairperson and Co-founder, CPSK said, “This is an amazing milestones for the CPSK team, living with cerebral palsy doesn’t make anyone a lesser human being. Our children who are joining the scouts movement today are part of the community and inclusivity is the hallmark of the human race in this 21st century.”

Kenya Scouts Embakasi West Sub-County Commissioner said, “We jumped at the opportunity to include children with cerebral palsy into the scouts fraternity, we endeavour to ensure all children feel accepted and through this initiative our children in the scouts unit will learn inclusivity and will be ambassadors of creating awareness among their peers, this is a splendid way to teach our children that they should engage and support one another despite backgrounds or health status.”

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a medical condition that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills. It hinders the body’s ability to move in a coordinated and purposeful way. CP often is caused by brain damage that happens before or during a baby’s birth, or during the first 3-to-5 years of a child’s life. 7 out of 10 cerebral palsy cases are below 12 years old and it is the most common physical disability in childhood. The condition may come with, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy among other impairments. It is estimated that three out of 100 births have Cerebral palsy. In Kenya, the government offers Ksh. 2000 cash transfer stipend per child per month but it is never regular.

CPSK is a charitable organization committed to the improvement of the plight of children and persons afflicted by Cerebral Palsy. The charity has a membership of over 500 and attends to over 350 children and persons. CPSK is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year having been formed in 1994.

The CPSK Special Needs Education program ensures that learners afflicted with CP can still attain their realized potential. The CPSK Special Unit currently has admitted over 40 learners, whereas the therapy clinic sees over 120 children monthly at the clinic and 70 youngsters/adults on the outreach program.

Insurance companies in Kenya do not cover cerebral palsy. The cost of therapy is very high especially in private hospitals who charge up to ksh. 3,000 per session, government hospitals charge about Ksh. 400 and private therapists charge about Ksh. 1,500. In most cases, CP children require therapy thrice a week.

CPSK is working with like-minded partners to advocate and work towards attaining specific legislation and policies that will take significant action to ensure the rights of persons with CP are protected. CPSK is ensuring that those with CP get National Identification cards, have a right to vote, run businesses, access to information, transportation, education and medical attention.