Cerebral Palsy Alliance looks to Vietnam to grow its impact
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Not-for-profit organisation, the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, expands its mission overseas to improve the lives of people with neurological disorders.
NSW-based Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) has been leading care and research for cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders for more than 70 years. Originally known as the Spastic Centre, CPA has a long history of pioneering treatment, education, employment, recreation, independent living and research for people with cerebral palsy worldwide.
CPA now supports a range of neurological conditions beyond cerebral palsy
which share common challenges. These conditions include acquired brain
injury, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, development delay and
Parkinson’s, among others.
CPA’s extensive expertise in supporting people to manage these disabilities
is also being applied to assist with stroke recovery and ageing, where
there are often physical, emotional and neurological impacts that lead to
similar challenges for people.
Expanding its mission to near neighbouring countries
In recent years, CPA has begun exploring the opportunity to expand its
mission into Asia in response to the rising community awareness and demand
for support in these countries. After extensive strategic consideration,
Vietnam was identified as a strong opportunity for CPA.
Vietnam was identified as a lead market based on existing linkages that CPA
had with the country – including through many clinical and allied health
specialists who are working in Vietnam.
CPA’s personnel are working directly or in partnership to undertake
research; develop policy and clinical management guidelines; and deliver
clinical care or advice across Vietnam.
For example, CPA researchers helped establish the first cerebral palsy
register in Vietnam and hospital-based protocols for surveillance of
cerebral palsy. CPA was also involved in numerous Vietnamese population
studies focused on cerebral palsy published in recent years.
In terms of the market need, Vietnam has a high rate of cerebral palsy and
high rates of autism and aged care – areas where CPA has considerable
No better way to learn than in-market
Austrade has worked closely with CPA to explore interest and develop
relationships in-market since the organisation first decided to explore
After extensive consultations and planning by both CPA and Austrade, CPA
embarked on an intensive one-week program of customised meetings in early
2019 to explore qualified leads. Meetings spanned public, private
hospitals, universities, aged care providers and policymakers. Every single
meeting resulted in a request for a memorandum of understanding or
substantive follow-up. The challenge now is for CPA to respond to an
unanticipated level of interest in and demand for its capabilities.
Austrade’s in-market representatives assisted CPA to understand and
navigate the key decision-makers in the market. Translation and cultural
support was also essential to the success of the on-ground program.
CPA is continuing to review and progress opportunities, with a strong focus
on how it can best support sustainable sector development and required
margins, while delivering its core business in Australia.
World-leading providers of disability support services, research and
CPA is recognised internationally for its outstanding training, services
and research leadership. Its remit supporting clients from birth to death
means the organisation has the ability to impact lives directly and to
undertake research that improves outcomes for people around the world.
In recent years, and partly in response to the changing face of disability
services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), CPA has
grown and systemised its extensive range of services.
CPA provides a range of services covering therapeutic and allied health
services, accommodation, in-home services and disability support workers.
Today it supports more than 5,000 clients annually in NSW alone.
In addition to its extensive clinical and support services, CPA encompasses
training and research. It is a registered training organisation providing
clinical and vocational training across disability and ageing services. CPA
has also established a Research Foundation which supports the world-leading
Cerebral Palsy Research Institute and the first-ever chair in Cerebral
With offices in Sydney and New York, the CPA Research Foundation spends
close to $40 million annually, funding research around the world.
Among its many notable achievements, the CPA Research Foundation has
recently announced a trend in the decline in cerebral palsy in Australia
over the last 10 years from around 1 in 500 children to 1 in 700 children.
The new frontier for Australian not-for-profits
The CPA model for service, training and research coordination and
excellence is seen in other public health areas nationally where
not-for-profits play a critical role. These organisations are highly
motivated to bring together the highest-quality research, training and
services and leading know-how from across the globe.
CPA, supported by Austrade, have blazed a trail for Australian expertise to
make a difference in the lives of people around the world.
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