Early Intervention Practices in Ethiopia Tirussew Teferra, Professor of Special Needs Education, Ababa University, June 2010 Key Features of Early Intervention n Practices in Ethiopia Traditional Practices A. Public Perceptions of disabilities/understandings/ [Supernatural, possessed by evil spirit, evil deeds of the parents etc.] [Different forms of psychological reactions towards the CwDs ] Institutions Religious Institutions /Christians/Muslims / Deep prayer / Duaa/Reading religious texts/, Receiving a sprinkling of holy water, Drinking holy water, Eating & drinking blessed materials, & Putting ‘eminet.’ (ash like substance) on the affected part of the body. Tradional Practices … Traditional Healers [Awaki,Metsehaf-gelach, Debtera, Bale-zar, Qqalecha & Wegesha] Traditional Medicne /Treatment Herbal medicine administered internally or externally, Indigenous psychotherapy (including written material to be hanged on the neck or shoulder ), & Indigenous physiotherapy “ Wegesha”. Consequences The efforts in most cases have proved to be unsuccessful. This among others has : Eroded family resources, Resulted the development of minor impairments to major disabilities, Some may end-up to be harmful and fatalistic Created different forms of family crisis & feeling hopelessness in the family Consequences cont… The misconceptions coupled with the hurdles of the traditional treatment patterns make the child not only devoid of timely psychosocial and sensory stimulation but may also expose him/her to additional health problems. Socio cultural conceptions metaphors regarding Early Intervention “Lejen be tut ehilen be tikiment” [As the month of October is the right time for crop harvest so is breast - feeding the right time for molding a child’s behavior. ] “Zaf belejenet yetarekal” [It is easy to straighten a tree during its nursery stage.] “Eebaben be einchechu” [You can deal with the snake during its early stage (zygotic phase)] “Tamo kememakek askedemo methenkek” [One should take care of oneself before falling to illness.] Useful and Harmful Child rearing practices Early mother child emotional bondage Breast feeding Limitation of the role of the father on early child care Disabling harmful practices Widespread use of corporal punishment Prevalence of child labour, abuse and neglect Opportunities/Policies Health Policy ( FDRE,1996) Encourages early utilization of available health care facilities for the management of common childhood diseases; Promotes health care services, such as, maternal health care family planning; maternal nutrition; Enhances access and utilization of immunization services ; and Encourages the active involvement of parents in protecting and maintaining family health. Policy-framework cont… Developmental and Social Welfare Policy (FDRE,1997) Promotes care and services to children so as to ensure their all-rounded and harmonious development; Encourages the protection of children from any forms of neglect and abuses; and Warrants the necessity of directing efforts towards the elimination of harmful traditional practices. Encouraging undertakings by the Government Maternal & primarily health care education/health extension programs Immunization, Provision of health care services in the hospitals, clinics & outreach programs, An attempt to co-ordinate early childhood education programs, & Raising the awareness of the general public on the traditional harmful practices, right of the child, child abuse & neglect , family’s right etc. Non-governmental organizations [Local & International] Community-Based Rehabilitation Services [Health, Education, Vocational Training, Advocacy & Income Generating etc.,] Medical & Training Centers Sheltered Vocational-Training Centers Treatment & Rehabilitation Centers Drop-in Centers for Street Children Prosthetic & Orthotic Production Centers. Early intervention : The way forward in Ethiopia Scientific & practical reasons to start early : Prevention of pre, peri & post-natal childhood disabling factors, Enhancement of the child’s development [cognitive & sensory stimulation], Exploiting the optimal readiness for learning, Building healthy psycho-social well-being, Provision of family assistance [parents & siblings], Undertaking cost-effective intervention[ requires less time & effort )& Ensuring economic benefits [maximizes the child’s & the family’s benefit to society]. Thank You !!