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Cerebral palsy

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World Diabetes Day 2019

The Department of Health will join the world to commemorate World Diabetes Day on November 14.

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National EMS Day Launch 2019

The National Launch of EMS Day takes place on 17 October 2019 in Wentworth, Durban to recognise the important role of EMS in the attainment of universal health coverage within the country.

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Checka Impilo/Rotary Family Health Days mass health screening campaign

Deputy Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla and Limpopo provincial Health MEC Dr Popi Ramathuba will lead the community Tubatse Municipality during the Checka Impilo/Rotary health screening Campaign.

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Cheka Impilo Campaign

The Cheka Impilo campaign aims to accelerate screening and testing for HIV, tuberculosis (TB), sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

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Healthy-Lifestyle Campaign

When people are physically and mentally healthy, they produce more; they learn better; they incur less healthcare related costs(to themselves and to government)and communities, families and individuals thrive(Strategic Plan 2013-2017).

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Invitation to become an Antibiotic Guardian!!!

The Antibiotic Guardian campaign aims to protect and conserve antibiotics for future generations in South Africa and improve knowledge about antibiotic resistance.

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National Health Insurance Bill, 2018

NHI is a health financing system that pools funds to provide access to quality health services for all South Africans based on their health needs and irrespective of their socio-economic status.

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Cerebral palsy


Cerebral palsy means "brain paralysis". This means that parts of your brain are not working well. Is is a disability that affects movement and body position.


Cerebral palsy is not a disease, condition or an illness. It is caused by many factors that may occur before, during or after birth. Not all causes have been identified.

Causes before birth include:

  • Infections during pregnancy (e.g. German measles and shingles)
  • Blood type incompatibility of mother and child
  • Health problems during pregnancy (e.g. diabetes)

Causes during birth include:

  • Lack of oxygen because of a difficult or very long labour or other complications
  • Injuries during birth
  • Premature birth

Causes in the neonatal period:

  • Respiratory distress
  • Very high fever
  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Metabolic problems (e.g. low blood sugar)

Causes in early childhood:

  • Severe dehydration because of diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Brain infections (e.g. meningitis, encephalitis)
  • Head injuries
  • Lack of oxygen because of e.g. near-drowning, gas poisoning, etc
  • Poisoning
  • Bleeding or blood clots in the brain
  • Uncontrolled fits (seizures).

Signs & Symptoms

  • A baby that is limp and floppy at birth
  • Soon after birth the baby’s arms, legs and head become stiff
  • Delayed breathing and crying at birth
  • Slow development compared to other babies (slow to hold head steady, sit and move around)
  • Feeding problems (difficulty with sucking, swallowing and chewing)
  • A baby that is difficult to hold or carry because he or she is too stiff or too floppy and has poor head control
  • Communication difficulties (the baby does not respond, cry or make sounds/words like other babies)
  • Delayed intelligence (the baby may look dull and do not respond to toys, etc.)
  • Hearing and sight may be affected
  • Fits (epilepsy, seizures, convulsions) may occur in some children
  • Restless behaviour (behaviour changes from laughing to crying, baby has fears or bouts of anger and is otherwise difficult).



  • Eat enough healthy food before and during your pregnancy
  • Plan your pregnancy
  • Avoid taking medicines during pregnancy
  • Go for regular health check-ups during your pregnancy
  • Make sure your baby is vaccinated as advised by the clinic
  • Prevent seizures (uncover the baby when he or she has fever)
  • Know the signs of meningitis (stiff neck, vomiting, high fever and irritability) and get treatment quickly
  • Good perinatal care
  • Good neonatal care.


Physiotherapy – These programmes will encourage the child to improve control of their movements in order to sit, move around, play and interact with people and the environment. It is aimed at maintaining the range of movement in all the joints so the child’s abilities are not limited by joint stiffness.

Occupational therapy – These programmes are aimed at helping the child to be as independent as possible in activities like playing, learning, eating, dressing, bathing and toileting. The treatment focuses on improving control of movement, using devices to help make activities easier and modifying the child’s home or school environment.

Orthotic devices – Many different kinds of devices are used to improve posture, ambulation and function.

Speech therapy – These programmes are aimed at helping the child to control the muscles of the mouth, tongue and jaw to optimise feeding and to help the child to communicate and interact with people and the environment. This therapy is specific to each child and may include alternative ways of feeding and communicating.

Audiology – Here therapists aim to optimise a child’s ability to hear by preventing/managing ear infections, screening of hearing abilities and using devices and strategies to optimise hearing and communication.

Dieticians – These healthcare professionals aim to make sure that the child is nutritionally healthy and growing well so that he or she has the energy to develop and play as other children do. They work very closely with speech therapists to help the child with feeding problems. It is very important to prevent malnutrition in children with cerebral palsy.

Medical science – Reduce spasticity of the muscles, provide optimal seizure control, control oesophageal reflux and prevent constipation.

Surgery – Involves one or a combination of loosening tight muscles and releasing fixed joints; bone procedures to maintain posture and ambulation; straightening abnormal twists of the bones; and cutting nerves of the limbs most affected by movements and spasms.

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Important Contacts
Aids Helpline
0800 012 322
Mental Health Information Line
0800 567 567
Children’s Cancer Helpline
0800 333 0555
National Health System Ethics Line
0800 20 14 144 14