Local therapist being trained to work with children born with microcephaly

The training in session

Physiotherapists, rehabilitation staff and occupational therapists are currently engaged in a training exercise focused on babies with delayed developments, specifically those with microcephaly.

The training in session

The three-day training exercise which began on Monday is being undertaken by USAID’s maternal and child survival programme and is being facilitated at the Grand Coastal Inn.

Director of Disability and Rehabilitation Services, Dr Arianne Mangar explained to the Department of Public Information (DPI) that the much-needed training was as a result of a number of babies born in Guyana with Microcephaly.

Microcephaly is a condition where the head (circumference) of a baby is smaller than normal. The cases in Guyana are as a result of the mother of the baby contracting the Zika virus.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the Zika virus

To date, there are 16 children living with microcephaly and health care providers have noticed that there are delays in their development when compared to the growth and development of a healthy baby.

Therapists engaged in training come from Regions Two, Three, Four, Six, Seven and Ten. Others from hinterland health facilities and the Georgetown hospital are also participating.

DPI spoke to some of the participants and highlighted their expectations of such an exercise. Sharmaine De Freitas, Rehabilitation Assistant at the Bartica Regional Hospital said that she deals with a baby born with microcephaly.

“In Bartica, we have a child there with microcephaly and because of the problem the child has you won’t know how much the child is seeing or hearing and the child is just there and you would have to work with so many interventions so that the child can gain some sort of independence,” De Freitas said.

Kenaan Benjamin, Physiotherapist at West Demerara Regional Hospital indicated that this programme will better equip therapist like himself to reach out to the children with these disabilities and help parents to deal with their delayed developments.

Calvin Lawrie, Occupational Therapist, Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre said, “as an occupational therapist we have to find ways and means to stimulate the child’s development so we use different areas whether it be language or motor (therapy) and we stimulate development and try to get them to their optimum functioning and a child’s function is basically to play.”

Meanwhile, Physiotherapy Superintendent, Linden Hospital Complex, Gloria Garraway, said after benefitting from this training, she is now responsible for ensuring staff in the hospital’s physiotherapy department gain from her increased knowledge.



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