Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus awareness marked in Eldoret
Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Kenya (SHAK) today celebrated the first World’s Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day at Eldoret Municipal Town Hall in Uasin Gishu County with the theme “Celebrating Life without Limits Building Independence.”
According to Dr. Florentious Koech a neurosurgeon at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Spina Bifida is a condition whereby children are born with open spine while Hydrocephalus means children born with abnormally large head due to water that develops from inside during mothers` pregnancy.
“In every 1000 born children 4 of them have the condition of Spina Bifida while 2 ought to be infected with Hydrocephalus,” notes Dr. Koech adding that parents hardly notice this condition immediately after giving birth.
He says that it becomes difficult to correct the abnormality especially if the affected patients have developed the illness for a long period and urges them to report the cases associated with this kind of illness immediately they suspect them.
Causes, treatment and prevention
Nancy kibushi the Nurse in Charge of Children Care at AIC Kijabe Mission Hospital explains that the condition of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus can only be prevented within the 28 days of pregnancy if it is fortunately detected. She however adds that parents should take their children to health centers earlier for medication and care.
Kibushi regrets lack of folic acid in pregnant women as the main cause of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus conditions in children. She however says that mothers can reduce chances of their infants attracting the disease by continuously taking folic acid when they are pregnant for the second time in case the earlier born is infected by the same.
She adds that mothers on drugs associated with epileptic, hypertension or diabetic conditions may transmit Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus to their infants during pregnancy period as these drugs cause drastic fall of folic acid level in blood hence reducing immunity against the malady.
In addition, Kibushi highlights that infants easily inherit the infection from their mothers if they are already infected with same.
Kibushi advises mothers to adopt proper methods of feeding by observing a balanced diet with a large portion of greens and cereals as this greatly burst level of folic acid therefore reducing chances of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus of their infants while pregnant.
The chair of SHAK Ms. Nodiah Choge says that parents with infected or affected children build a perception of viewing these conditions as curse or bad luck adding that it is a normal health problem that can be treated.
Choge encourages the affected parents to gather courage and face the situation by taking their affected children for checkups and treatment as it is not the end life. She bravely notes that children bearing these health problems are normal beings like others and that their problems only physical and not mental.
Speaking, Choge says the aim of SHAK is to promote awareness of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus to all parents with affected young ones, strengthen the quality of lives of victims through access to free medical care.
She also mentions that medical care is provided free of charge to patients at any AIC Kijabe Hospital mobile clinics branches in the country.
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