‘Standing boxes’ improve life for children with cerebral palsy

Friday, November 15, 2019

Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu has commended the physiotherapists who came up with the idea of inventing standing boxes for children born with cerebral palsy.

Speaking at a handover of the standing boxes event at Chris Hani Baraqwanath Hospital in Soweto, Mchunu said clinicians report that children using the devices daily have shown better tolerance to handling, less stiffness in their legs and improved compliance with home exercise programs. 

“Due to its success and necessity, the Standing Boxes Project is being replicated in other hospitals. We are inspired. We appreciate your work. We are behind you,” the Minister said.

Mchunu told staff members, including clinicians and physiotherapists, that they must continue to do the work and work together to fight corruption.

“We live in a great country that has potential. We want to intensify our work on the ground. We are getting there.” 

Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku said the province, through its health facilities, serves about 28 million people.

“That takes a lot of commitment and patience. We need to make sure that we improve the lives of our people,” Masuku said.

Approximately 70% of all children with cerebral palsy can never learn to stand or walk on their own.

Faced with this reality, physiotherapists at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital decided to do something to improve the quality of life for these children through the Early Standing Programme.

The wooden standing boxes are tailor-made according to the needs of the children.

NGO Sukumani Dream employs disabled people to manufacture these boxes at a cost of R1 000. Parents only pay R150 as most of the money is covered by donations.

To date, 100 standing boxes have been issued free of charge to children from Soweto and surrounding areas.

Preliminary findings indicate that the usage of such standing devices may have the potential to save the State further costs by preventing chronic pain, and lessening the need for frequent hospital admissions and corrective surgery.

Mchunu officially launched the Standing Boxes Project as part of the Public Sector Innovation Awards programme and to mark Disability Rights Month.

The Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI), an entity in the portfolio of the Minister, identifies, supports and nurtures innovation in the Public Service, with a view to improving service delivery, and runs the Public Sector Innovation Awards programme.

Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital was the overall winner last year for the innovative project of Standing Boxes for children with cerebral palsy, designed by physiotherapists at the hospital.

Disability Rights Month, which runs from 3 November to 3 December 2019, highlights the rights of disabled people.

The CPSI is working in collaboration with the Department of Correctional Services to get the department to manufacture standing boxes through their rehabilitation programme at correctional facilities. – SAnews.gov.za