Corrective surgery helps Godwin to walk again
By:David Erot and Andrew Omendo
Godwin is 8 years old and lives in Lokichar town in Turkana County. He started developing a knee deformity at the age of 2 years. His parents believed that Godwin was bewitched by relatives who had a difference with Godwin’s family.
Often within the Turkana communities, any form of disability is believed to be caused by curses or witchcraft and also attributed to the wrong doings of the family.
In May 2016 during an identification and assessment exercise organized by the Ministry of Health in Turkana County partnering with Save the Children, Godwin was among 132 children with disability identified and assessed. Godwin together with sixteen children were referred to Kijabe hospital for knee fusion by the Diocese of Lodwar and Save the Children with funding from Christian Blind Mission (CBM).
Godwin is now able to walk comfortably with the support of crutches. He has recovered and is no longer in pain.
Story in the beneficiaries’ own words:
Florence, Godwin’s mother says: “I give birth to Godwin expecting him to grow normally and be a very important person in future. When I discovered that my child was disabled, I blamed my husband’s sister whom I had quarrelled with sometime back and I thought she had bewitched Godwin as a way of causing pain to me.”
“Most of my neighbours believed the same because in my community, when you have a disabled child then somebody must have bewitched or curse the child,” adds Florence.
Florence says Godwin grew up with the disability until last year when the family moved to Lokichar town and she was advised by the neighbours to take her child to school.
“Staff from St. John Paul 11 Home and Save the Children came to my house, they looked at the child and advised us to take Godwin to St. John Paul 11 Home so that he could start his school. We were also asked to take Godwin to Kijabe for operation but we had nothing at all, we only depend on sewing baskets and the money is not enough. Save the Children paid for our transport”.
Andrew Omendo an orthopaedic technologist at St. John Paul 11 home says: “Godwin was born at home in Lochwa. The child was identified with contracture of the knee. He was referred to St. John Paul 11 home for further assessment and school placement. He was also referred to Kijabe hospital for surgery to release the contracture. With support from Save the Children and Diocese of Lodwar, the operation was made possible.”
“Godwin has recovered but is still under rehabilitation management. He is able to walk with the support of crutches and cast boots but immediately the cast plaster is removed, Godwin will be able to walk independently,” says Andrew
According to the 2009 Kenya Census, Turkana County has an estimated population of 1,011,235, out of which 0.6% are children living with disabilities. Most people in Turkana hold beliefs that disability is caused by evil spirits or curse from the gods. Children and adults with disability are stigmatised and enclosed in their homes and thus miss out on opportunities such as education and health
Save the children with funding from CBM is supporting the County teams in Turkana to conduct community based rehabilitation outreaches under the disability mainstreaming project. The main objective of the project is to increase access of CWDs in Turkana County to interventions by government and non- governmental organizations that address their persistent exclusion from education, health, and social services.
This project helps to facilitate physical rehabilitation and specialized treatment for children with disabilities. So far 1 children with limb deformities, contracture of the knee and clubfoot have been supported and undergone surgical treatment.