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Uganda hospital helps children walk again

By Vision Reporter

Added 10th January 2010 03:00 AM

ON a concrete floor in Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda Hospital (CoRSU) at Kisubi –— along Kampala-Entebbe highway, six-year-old Abas Kabuye smiles and screams as he limps forward around the enclosed compound without any support.

ON a concrete floor in Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda Hospital (CoRSU) at Kisubi –— along Kampala-Entebbe highway, six-year-old Abas Kabuye smiles and screams as he limps forward around the enclosed compound without any support.

By Frederick Womakuyu

ON a concrete floor in Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda Hospital (CoRSU) at Kisubi –— along Kampala-Entebbe highway, six-year-old Abas Kabuye smiles and screams as he limps forward around the enclosed compound without any support.

Kabuye is recovering from reconstructive surgery on his right leg carried out at CoRSU to correct a foot deformity that was caused by a quinine injection.

According to Anne Nakalema, his mother, Kabuye was taken to a makeshift clinic for malaria treatment where he was injected with quinine.
“He got paralysed and could not sit or walk.

I took him to Mengo Hospital for treatment in vain. After a few months, his right foot became bent,” she says.
Health workers had given up until one of the doctors referred her to CoRSU, a hospital that rehabilitates children with disabilities for free.

“Reconstructive surgery and treatment was performed on his leg and Kabuye can walk, sit normally and play with his friends,” Nakalema says.

CORSU services
Kabuye is one of thousands of children who are receiving free surgery from CoRSU to correct deformities ranging from club feet, bone deformity, cleft, osteomyelitis and other deformities caused by accidents resulting in paralysis of limbs.

Located 30km from Kampala city, CoRSU provides rehabilitation by orthopaedic surgery, plastic surgery, community-based rehabilitation and training for professionals and specialists in surgery in Uganda.

Irene Nabalamba, the public relations officer CoRSU, says the hospital started in 1996 as a small children’s orthopaedic outreach surgery in Mengo Hospital, treating and giving reconstructive surgery to children with physical limb deformities or injuries.

“But because of increase in demand of services for people with disability, we shifted to a permanent residence in Kisubi.”

According to Mathias Widmaier, CoRSU’s administrator in Uganda, 700,000 of the population in Uganda has deformities and 25% of them are physical and can be treated with surgery.

He says disability is fuelled by malnutrition, poor hygiene and poverty, including ignorance. “Some people think disability cannot be treated, yet others cannot afford the cost of surgery.

These remain silent and die needlessly.”
Widmaier says they perform treatment and surgery on children for free, courtesy of Christian Blind Mission (CBM), an international organisation supporting people with disabilities.

CBM, together with other partners provides the funds to run the hospital.
He says the parents of the children pay only sh6,000 to cater for the meals and beddings of the children as they undergo treatment.

As part of their social corporate responsibility, Stanbic Bank recently donated sh7.5m to CoRSU to facilitate reconstructive surgery for 29 children with disabilities ranging from club foot, cleft and palate, and limb deformities resulting from accidents.

Success stories
One and a half-year-old Christine Kayla, a beneficiary, was born with a club foot and her other foot had only one bone instead of two.

“My baby had a club foot and a bent leg that tilted in all directions. She was paralysed and could not sit or crawl,” Kayla’s mother recalls.

However, after undergoing reconstructive surgery and a metal fixed in one leg at the hospital, Kayla can now sit and crawl.

Miracle stories of children who were formerly disabled, but later performed on reconstructive surgery by CoRSU are numerous.

According to Widmaier, CoRSU has performed surgeries on over 1,000 children with disabilities since they shifted to Kisubi in 2009. “We want to reach as many children as possible.

About 80% of disabilities in children can be prevented through reconstructive surgery when they are still young.”
When Widmaier took us around for a tour of CoRSU, three-year-old Gift Mumbere, from Kasese district, was waiting his turn.

Mumbere developed a disability after getting a quinine injection that paralysed his buttocks, created a deformity on his foot — leaving him unable to walk or sit properly.

Although they have waited for a week, his father Daniel Birungi has hope. “I have seen a lot of success stories. I believe this boy will be able to walk or sit after surgery,” he says.

Birungi says they came to CoRSU because it has facilities to carryout reconstructive surgery and yet does it free of charge.

After reconstructive surgery, the children and some adults are taken through exercises like walking, stretching and running for weeks to get their limbs walking normally again.

For Kabuye, staying at the hospital for six months and being able to walk again, is a miracle. “I don’t know how I became lame, but God is great. I also thank CoRSU and Stanbic Bank for giving me hope,” Kabuye.

Uganda hospital helps children walk again

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