The Ivorian NGO Esperance’S Hope spoke this weekend in Yamoussoukro to women on hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida, two disabling diseases that affect children from 0 to 2 years old.
The Saint-Joseph Moscati Catholic Hospital in Yamoussoukro, served as the venue for this awareness session. On October 22, 2021, a series of conferences took place, followed the day after by a day of consultation and screening.
The second day consisted in particular of consultations for the screening of diseases of the nervous system and several other psycho-motor disabilities with children with autism or cerebral palsy.
These activities, organized in partnership with Saint-Joseph Moscati Hospital and other structures, take place as a prelude to the International Day against Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, scheduled for October 25, 2021.
The conferences, which took place in the presence of the prefect of the region of Yamoussoukro Brou Kouamé and the vice-governor of the District of Yamoussoukro Koné Drissa, provided a better understanding of the disabilities resulting from these diseases.
The president of the NGO Esperance’S Hope, Professor Espérance Broalet, Associate Lecturer at Alassane Ouattara University in Bouaké and neurosurgeon, in charge of pediatrics, explained these two childhood illnesses.
Spina Bifida, she will say, is a “malformation, a birth defect that will affect the spine and nervous structures.” It is about an abnormality of closing of the neural tube (primitive nervous system of the baby which in the form of a tube, at the beginning, goes thereafter, at the level of the skull to dilate to give the brain).
As for hydrocephalus, it is a dilation of structures contained in the hoop that contain fluid. This liquid will circulate and be reabsorbed in certain places.
But, when there is too much production and the absorption does not take place, this liquid will accumulate in this cavity and cause dilation, noted Professor Espérance Broalet.
Following these definitions, she observed that there are risk factors for these diseases, geographic, family, environmental, dietary factors and the most common cause is folic acid deficiency (vitamin B9).
This vitamin, according to Professor Espérance Broalet, will enter into the constitution of the nervous system. Therefore, a deficiency will create an anomaly. This is why folic acid is given to pregnant women.
“The problem is that this folic acid is given when the woman is already three months pregnant while the disease occurs in the first month,” said Professor Espérance Broalet.
“Our message is to ensure that this folic acid supplement is given before conception of the pregnancy” or during the pregnancy project, she continued.
The organization is wavering on a project to take charge of these pathologies, in particular subsidies in the form of health grants, where partners will have to take part in packs.
“We would like to find partners who will offer health grants or 60,000 CFA francs, 100,000 CFA francs or 200,000 CFA francs”, amounts that should help sick children.
The consultation session brought together deaf children and dumb children. Nearly fifty children consulted saw doctors but were unable to do the examinations prescribed to have a diagnosis and facilitate treatment for lack of financial means.
Sometimes, Professor Broalet will point out, the exams do not exist in the locality where several children are. Parents are forced to go to the main cities of the country to make the diagnosis (scanner, ultrasound…).
Esperance’S HOPE, a non-profit and apolitical association bringing together patients, parents of patients, health professionals, non-health professionals, helps sick children with hydrocephalus and neural tube defects, children in situation disabled and orphans.
Its awareness sessions aim to facilitate access to information, to enable all women of childbearing age, pregnant and breastfeeding women to detect early increase in the head volume of their children.
The city of Bonoua, located in the south-east of Côte d’Ivoire, hosted this October 25, 2021 the 2021 edition of the International Day of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.