Institute in Bahia creates care group for children with microcephaly

Mothers and their children are taken care of by a team of

Published in 05/03/2016 - 11:20 By Sayonara Moreno reports on-the-scene for Agência Brasil - Salvador

Instituto em Salvador presta assistência a famílias de crianças com microcefalia

IBR has recently started to provide services specially designed for the specialized treatment of Zika-related microcephalySayonara Moreno - Agência Brasil

Small Geovanna was born four months ago, and is one of the 395 children victims of the Zika virus born in Salvador, capital city of the northeastern Bahia state. Diagnosed with microcephaly, the baby is taken once a week to the Bahia Rehabilitation Institute (IBR) by her mother, Sílvia de Jesus Pinheiro. A care group for the families of children with microcephaly was created in the institute.

A teacher who works on the outskirts of Salvador, Sílvia believes the professional guidance she gets will help stimulate the child's development.

“I have all the assistance I need here. We're starting to participate in the group with other children today. Our expectations are wonderful, always very optimistic. I'm confident that the baby will develop, and I know people are here to help with that," said the girl's mother, who came in for a consultation at the institution twice before the group started.

IBR is a charity in operation for 60 years, and is known all across Bahia for its work in rehabilitation. The institute has recently started to provide services specially designed for the specialized treatment of Zika-related microcephaly, as the disorder is now known to show more severe symptoms when associated with the virus than otherwise.

Teams made up of four psychologists, and speech, occupational, and physical therapists take care of seven children with microcephaly. As the service has been only recently implemented, the number of children admitted is still low, but should soon grow, says institute coordinator Rogério Gomes.

“The whole framework is ready for offering services to those seven, but there's a selection process and an evaluation stage. As the demand increases, we expand our services,” he explains.

Psychologist Júlia Reis says her attention is focused chiefly on the mothers. “The special work done by psychologists is to stand behind the mothers, who are right for being concerned and not feeling preprared at some point. And it is our job to take care of this suffering, and help them deal with it, encouraging them to stimulate their children, so they can see them not as a pathology, but as their sons and daughters,” says Reis, who has been with Geovanna's mother. “We care for the mother so she can care for her child,” she added.

According to the latest report from Bahia's Health Secretariat, from October 2015 to February 27 this year, 817 cases of microcephaly were reported across the state. Salvador is the city with the highest number of cases.

Sílvia says it is natural for mothers to be appalled by the diagnosis, but, she argues, that must not hold sway over the family's routine. “Here's the difference: the mother of a baby with microcephaly is not just a mother, but also a number of other specialies: Social worker, physical therapist, occupational therapist. Love conquers all. A baby with microcephaly needs to feel loved and the person who gives it this love is, above everyone else, its mother. The mother-child connection should be founded on love, regardless of microcephaly,” she said, with tears in her eyes.

According to experts at the institute, despite Geovanna's recent admission, advancements are clear to be seen: She has grown used to the welcome song, to the changing of clothes as bodily stimuli, and to the presence of other children.

Translated by Fabrício Ferreira / Amarílis Anchieta

Fonte: Institute in Bahia creates care group for children with microcephaly

Edition: Graça Adjuto / Nira Foster

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