2 April 2020
Rehab Centre for Children with Disabilities
During my visit to Potters Village in February I was able to spend two days in the Rehab Centre and witness first-hand the wonderful work being done to help children with disabilities and their families.
The Rehab Centre was set up in November 2019 by Janie Robson, a volunteer physiotherapist from the UK, who has extensive experience in rehabilitation. She has been training one of the nurses, Judith, and a nursing assistant, Keti, from the Medical Centre, in basic paediatric therapy with the aim that they will run the programme.
The Centre is open every Monday and Tuesday, cchildren and their parents attend the Centre monthly, in a group with other children with similar disabilities from their local area. Following an initial therapy assessment, parents are taught individual exercise programmes to do at home, including improved feeding techniques if necessary. Each time they return the team review the child’s progress and set new programmes for them to follow at home. In the afternoon there is a group session including games and songs which teaches the parents the importance of stimulating play and social interaction.
Keti was the only therapist on duty during my visit (due to staff illness), so as a paediatric nurse, I rolled up my sleeves and provided her with as much support as I could. I was hugely impressed by the entire programme and especially the dedication, knowledge, kindness and patience shown by Keti to all the children and families.
The 150th child arrived for assessment during my visit, a 7year-old girl with profound cerebral palsy who was exceedingly underweight due to swallowing difficulties and unable to even sit up. Her mother had heard about the Rehab service from a friend in her district so brought her to the Centre. Sadly, there is a lot of superstition and stigma regarding disability in this part of Uganda, so the fact that word is getting out into the community that the service exists is wonderful.
Some children require special chairs, standing frames or walkers, which local carpenters are able to make. If you would like to support a child who needs one of these, by making a financial donation please visit our website.
Their goal is “We work to enable everyone to reach their full potential physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and to actively participate and contribute into the life of their community”.
The Rehab Centre is a happy place, the great joy was seeing the children and parents join in with supporting each other, developing friendships and all singing together in the afternoon. I saw their goal in action.