Mengli’s Story: The value of holistic care and early intervention
When she first arrived at the Centre, she couldn’t hold her head up, sit, stand or focus on anything. Only her mother could understand her.
Mengli, 5, suffers from cerebral palsy. Before her mother, Ayjemal, heard about the UNICEF-supported ECD Centre at the MCH Hospital, Mengli had only received treatment from medical doctors. When she first arrived at the Centre, she couldn’t hold her head up, sit, stand or focus on anything. Only her mother could understand her.
Mengli began to make incredible progress after only a few months of regular visits to the ECD Centre, which provides in- and out-patient, family-centred, multi-disciplinary, early intervention services and functions as a training centre for future ECD specialists. Today Mengli can hold her head up, sit, recognize letters and answer questions. She smiles at jokes, laughs out loud and points out her snacks, one by one. When she speaks, people can understand her. For Ayjemal, the six-hour drive from her home in the countryside is worth it. She feels that the ECD Centre—which provides services free of charge—is giving Mengli a real chance at realizing her full potential.
Only a multi-disciplinary approach can yield results like these
“Only a multi-disciplinary approach can yield results like these,” said Dr. Maya Saryyeva , Paediatric Neurologist at the ECD Centre. “Just a medical perspective cannot help a child develop his or her potential. Without physical and speech therapy, and required care, Mengli would not have improved.”
Dr. Saryyeva emphasizes that the key is early intervention. “Ideally, we should start treating children at 2 months,” she said. “The day is wasted if we lose the potential for child development. We help the older children as well, but progress is always better when we work with children who are just a few months old.”