Perceptions of Primary Caregivers about Causes and Risk Factors of Cerebral Palsy in Ashanti Region, Ghana

Ernest Appiah Kyei, Joslin Dogbe


Purpose: Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common chronic childhood disability, but in most cases the primary causes are largely unknown. The study sought to determine the perceptions about the causes and risk factors of CP among primary caregivers of children with CP in the Ashanti region of Ghana. 

Method: A descriptive study design with a quantitative approach was used. A simple random sampling technique was adopted to select 100 participants from among the primary caregivers whose children with CP were attending the physiotherapy unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Ashanti region.  A structured questionnaire was administered to the respondents and data were analysed using SPSS version 21.0.

Results: CP was perceived as a disease caused by witchcraft (40%), punishment from God or Gods (12%), or by being cursed (10%). More than half (54%) of the respondents did not know of any risk factor for CP.

Conclusion and Implications: The perceived negative causes, as well as ignorance about the risk factors for CP, could result in primary caregivers stopping their children with CP from availing of the physiotherapy services. Public education and campaigns should focus on the causes and risk factors for CP, in order to change negative perceptions and improve awareness among the general public.


Primary caregivers; children with cerebral palsy; causes and risk factors

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