In Uganda most specialized medical care is found in the cities. There is some specialized medical care in a few rural areas, which is often offered by a private organization or private individual.
Often times wherever doctors and nurses are available, it is expensive and therefore they only see individuals who can afford this care. This is true for equipment as well.
In 2013, 99 Balloons sent a team of medical professionals to Uganda, where they were able to work with children with special needs, as well as provide training for professionals, caregivers, and parents. The team held a seminar that covered basic medical care, as well as some broader training on speech therapy and physical therapy techniques. They were also able to work one-on-one with families in the Community Care program to provide more specific care and advice for their child.
Our team also included a child counselor, who was able to participate in the seminar for the caregivers and mamas, as well as meet with and pray one-on-one with the parents in the Community Care program.
We were amazed at the many ways our medical team was able to serve and help families and individuals affected by disability in Uganda. The need for continued medical care, primarily therapy services, is great.
This fall, 99 Balloons was also able to connect an Occupational Therapy doctoral student with our partners in Uganda so that she could do her 4-week international rotation working with the children we saw this summer. You can read more about her time in Uganda by clicking here to see her blog.
We’d love for you to check out our Project Page and be a part of providing a year of speech therapy and physical therapy for the 20+ children living at Ekisa’s children’s home.
Join us in helping change the story of disability for these amazing kids!
Throughout Uganda, there is a general negative attitude towards persons living with disabilities as well as their families. There is a high level of segregation and fear of the unknown. The belief among most communities is that disability is contagious – if you associate with a person living with disability, he or she will pass it on you. Simply walking with a person with a disability is cause for shame.
Families, particularly those living in rural areas, are inclined to go to a witch doctor as they tend to associate disability to bad luck. The belief is that an individual with disability is being punished for sins they committed or that their family committed. There is a small percentage of community members in rural areas that understand disability and as such tend to look for interventions early on in the child’s life.
In more urban areas, stereotypes and perceptions of disability are mixed due to the fact that people come from different parts of the country. But the main reaction to disability in more urban towns is fear and shame, which causes parents to hide their children with disabilities.
This summer, 99 Balloons helped host a dinner for families that are a part of Ekisa’s Community Care program. It was a night to celebrate them for going against the grain, and choosing to keep their children and care for them despite what their culture dictates. We shared a meal together at a beautiful resort on the Nile, and each family received a basket of sugar, rice, beans and laundry soap. We even raffled off a goat at the end of the night – and the winning Mama fell to her knees in gratitude. It was such a humbling and sweet night…
Upon returning from our trip to Uganda, we received an update from Sam, the social worker in charge of the community care program:
“The Mamas felt loved and accepted through this. [We showed them] that we understand what they are going through and we are fully behind them every step.”
You can read more about the family dinner on Ekisa’s blog by clicking here.