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What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects a child’s developing brain, causing abnormal signals to the muscles in the arms and legs. There are many causes of cerebral palsy. In the countries where CURE serves, childbirth complications that deprive a baby’s brain of oxygen are the most common cause. Other causes include premature birth and severe infection (e.g. cerebral malaria, encephalitis or meningitis). In some cases, cerebral palsy may be mild–causing a child to tip-toe on one side. In severe cases, children face lifelong disabilities that interfere with their ability to support or feed themselves.

There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but a child’s quality of life can be improved with careful rehabilitation (including physiotherapy and splints) and surgery (to help straighten contracted joints, or to fix dislocated hips). Great efforts are made to work with the family to maximize each child’s independence and to support them throughout their childhood.

What issues do children with cerebral palsy face?


Depending on the severity, children may have difficulty dressing, eating, or walking independently.


Children can experience discrimination because of an abnormal gait or problems with day-to-day activities, leading to poor self-confidence and lack of independence.


When children are limited physically and excluded from community life, they lack opportunities for a hopeful, successful future.

How does surgery change a
child’s life?

  • Mobility can be improved with physiotherapy and surgery. This can involve a careful exercise regimen and an operation(s) to lengthen contracted muscles, straighten joints, and untwist the thigh or lower leg bones.
  • Children with cerebral palsy can regain independence and hope through the combined care of doctors, nurses, and physiotherapists.
  • Through careful treatment, children’s mobility can be improved, allowing some to return to school and giving them new opportunities in life.

Miracles happen every day at CURE Children’s Hospital of Malawi


After Eda broke her leg, she had to wait months for treatment. When she arrived at CURE, she was in constant pain and unable to go to school. After months of surgeries and physical therapy, she was finally able to go home. More than two years later, Eda was walking and running!

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CURE Zambia’s mission is to provide every child living with a disability the physical, emotional, and spiritual care they need to heal. If you have questions about becoming a patient or a partner with CURE, please contact us.