Posted on May 5, 2015 · Posted in News, Special Needs Clinic

Special Needs Clinic-Page 3 FaithLast September, Tenwek Hospital began providing outpatient services for children with special needs at the hospital and through a mobile clinic at Bomet Primary School. The clinic was first imagined by Solomon, a dedicated physiotherapist at Tenwek with a “can do” attitude who desires to see disabled children attend school. When Amy and Woody Rule (pediatrician and speech therapist) arrived at Tenwek last summer, they accelerated the process of establishing the clinic.

This partnership between the Maternal Child Health Clinic and Physiotherapy is now providing children with disabilities a dedicated place for medical evaluation, rehabilitation assessment and planning, wheelchair/ adaptive device measurements and fittings, and assistance with the transition to integrated and special unit educational programs. Approximately 60 children from Bomet County and beyond have been served by the clinic in recent months; diagnoses have included autism, pervasive developmental disorder, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and other developmental disabilities.

Tenwek is working in partnership with Bomet County’s Ministries of Education and Social Services, the Africa Gospel Church, and local schools to ensure that children with disabilities are accessing school programs to address their educational needs. Currently, there are seven schools in Bomet that are able to accept students with physical and mental disabilities, but many families don’t know these schools exist and aren’t aware of the resources available from the government. The clinic has been able to remove some of these barriers. However, in addition to school fees, families also may need to provide wheelchairs or other adaptive devices in order for children to attend classes.

The clinic also is seeking to establish strong collaborative partnerships among the hospital departments and community-based organizations, such as local churches, to advocate for children with disabilities and their families and help these children reach their full potential.

 The Shining Example of Faith

The lives of special needs children in Kenya are all too often limited and sometimes tragic. Faith is a young girl whose life was transformed in one short week through Tenweks’ new clinic. Born with spina bifida, Faith lives with her grandmother, aunt, and four other children. She spent the first seven years of her life crawling on her hands and knees and was never able to receive the care she needed.

The doctors and physical therapist at Tenwek’s clinic determined she had enough strength and sensation to potentially walk with the aid of crutches. Solomon graciously loaned Faith the only pediatric walker that Tenwek owns and fitted her with a sturdy shoe to assist in walking. Just six days after her first visit to the special needs clinic, Faith took her first steps into a new and brighter future!

This family would not be able to afford any care without assistance. All of clinic care, plus an emergency room admission and one-night stay in the hospital totaled about $50 – an impossible amount for Faith’s family, but an insightful example of the impact U.S. dollars can make.

FOT is exploring ways to support Tenwek’s initiative to aid the disabled and their families and will share with you opportunities to help in the future. In the meantime, please pray for the children being served and the clinic staff and community partners. Verily, I say to you, inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it to me. (Matt 25:40)

In the photo above: Faith is filled with joy after taking her first steps at age 8.

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