A group of 18 university students from the US, Canada and the UK paid a visit today to see first-hand the work of the OTC. The group of mostly second and third year students were part of a larger group of students traveling on a four month ‘Semester at Sea’ program originating in the US. The students attend lectures while on board and take shore excursions when the ship docks. They had two stops in Ghana at Takoradi and Tema. As the students were all undertaking studies in the health sector, a call on the OTC was arranged for them to see how the OTC delivers an integrated rehabilitation service for adults and children with prosthetic and orthotic needs. The students had a very productive experience at OTC; they had a tour of the Centre, interacted with our Director Sister Elizabeth Newman and the former Australian high Comissionor to Ghana Mr Billy Williams. Afterwards they went to the community, show how accessibly the surroundings were, visited a community patient and finally came back to the Centre to play ballon games with the children.
OVER SEVEN THOUSAND GHANAIANS WITH DISABILITIES HELPED IN 2018 BY ORTHOPEDIC CENTRE
Adoagiryi; 27 March 2019
Demand for the services of the Orthopedic Training Centre (OTC) in Ghana has grown by x per cent in the past year as more children and adults reached out for disability support. OTC treated 7,259 adults and children as out and in-patients during 2018.
At their annual meeting of the Board of Trustees at the OTC headquarters in Adoagiryi today, Centre Director, Sister Elizabeth Newman SSND, said the demand for support was at an all-time high with all available places at the centre filled by 90 children and adults.
‘As Ghana’s population grows, the number of patients presenting with diabetes, industrial and traffic accidents as well as birth deformities has increased. In 2018, we treated 2,466 patients with amputations, mostly from diabetes and accidents,’ said Sister Elizabeth.
The OTC workshop supported over 7,000 patients in 2018 with life-changing orthopedic appliances and intense physiotherapy treatment for rehabilitation in order that patients are able to return to the community and resume productive lives.
OTC reaches all regions of Ghana, including with a trek program that delivered support to 2,146 patients in 2018. A mobile unit covered over 20, 000 kilometres, visiting 46 stations, with some towns receiving eight visits annually.
Children’s education is a priority at OTC. As part of their rehabilitation and development, 105 in-patient children received a formal education program in 2018 delivered by a qualified teaching staff.
The introduction of a new cerebral palsy clinic and day centre at OTC, has demonstrated a need in the community for a support service for children with this disability. Named in honour of an Australian lady, Mrs Lynette Williams, who passed away in 2017, the clinic now supports seven children in the local community with a daily program led by qualified therapists using specialised equipment.
‘There is an increasing need to support children with cerebral palsy in the local community. The day care has a twin benefit with the child receiving specialised physio and other support while the parents are freed to work and engage in other activities. We hope to expand the program with more children over time, provided there are sufficient trained staff and adequate facilities available,’ said Sister Elizabeth.
Sister paid tribute to the many volunteers from around the world who have freely given their time to and talents to help OTC. She also paid tribute to the growing number of Ghanaian donors who have given generously with cash and in-kind donations to help deliver the services to those in the community who are disadvantaged through disability.
For further information and interviews , please contact Mr Eleazer Asante, PRO, OTC. Tel: 0506759386 Email- email@example.com
The Orthopedic Training Centre now has a new donation button thanks to a wonderful group by name “I support the Marginalized in Society” (ISMIS). They are a group of Masters students from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) who visited the Centre and out of love decided to create an easier way donors can make donations into our accounts.
The button gives donors the easiest way of making donation where ever they find themselves with the use of a VISA card or a normal mobile money account in Ghana. (MTN, Vodafone, Airtel and Tigo).
“All children are God’s Gift”. That was the belief of Brother Tarcisius, founder of the Orthopedic Training Centre (OTC), and every gift has a purpose to serves in making the world a better place. Emmanuel Antwi is one of many gifts our Community Outreach Team (COT) received on one of their regular visits to homes in Nsawam, Eastern Region of Ghana. Emmanuel is an eight-year-old boy with the heart of a lion because he has been through a lot of challenges and still survives the turbulence of life with perseverance and courage. He has two siblings but lives alone with his father in a small community called Ntoaso in a rented self-contain, where he always lies on a mattress either playing games on the computer with his friends or sleeping in the dark alone when his father goes out.
On the 15th of November 2017 our Community Outreached Team visited Emmanuel in his house. His father received us with a warm welcome and told the story of his son.
“Emmanuel is a wonderful boy who was born healthy and strong, going to school and (Christ Leading Foundation School), church and loved by many. He had parents who cherished and loved him so much, sending him to school and picking him up every day, putting a kiss on his forehead every time he woke up and singing him lullabies every night to get him to bed. He made us proud whenever we took him to school because he was academically good, handsome and hardworking. At age three he was the diamond of our heart until the unexpected happened. He lost his mother to cancer, and a few months later he was run over by a truck. The incident of the accident happened on a fateful day of March 2014 when he had closed from school and was on his way coming home. He stopped near a house and decided to urinate close to a truck that was delivering bags of sachet water to a vendor. The Driver of the truck did not notice that Emmanuel was behind the truck, so he started the truck and began moving backwards, hitting Emmanuel to the ground and crushing him for a while until people around realized a little boy was under the truck unconscious in a pool of blood. They screamed and shouted until the driver stopped the truck and realized Emmanuel was at the verge of death”.
He was rushed to the nearest hospital, where doctors said he had an injury to his spine and bladder. He needed to be referred to Korle Bu Teaching Hospital to undergo emergency surgery or he would lose his life. His father did not hear the news until a few hours later when he was called and informed that his son had been hit by a truck. He rushed to the hospital to find Emmanuel unconscious, and he wept. He dropped his soon off at school expecting to see him home at the end of the day, but rather Emmanuel was lying on a stretcher fighting for his life.
Emmanuel received emergency surgery on his bladder and woke up days later to learn what had happened. He had bruises all over his body and was paralyzed with no sensation or movement from his waist down. He became incontinent, and his parents had to spend all their earnings on treatment, hoping their son will get back on his feet. After spending a few weeks in the major hospital they no longer could afford the treatment and had to send Emmanuel to Nsawam hospital near their house to reduce the cost of transportation and feeding.
At this point Emmanuel spent all his days in the hospital taking medication and fighting for his life as he began having seizures. He was referred to the Koforidua Hospital where he received more treatment and physiotherapy to make him strong and prevent him from developing contractures in his legs. Eventually his condition stabilized, and he went home to recover fully. Emmanuel has been living with the paralysis for four years and is still incontinent. His siblings live with their aunties, because his father makes little money repairing computers in their rented self-contain and can only provide for the needs of Emmanuel.
Today, the OTC has become a source of light for Emmanuel’s family. He has received a pair of splints (back-slabs), a commode chair, a wheel chair and a mattress to assist in making his movements easier. Also the OTC has provided food supplements and pampers to cater for his physical needs and hygiene. The Community Outreach Team is working diligently to ensure that Emmanuel goes back to school so that he receives a good education to help him face the future and one day make a living.
Dominic is an energetic twenty one year old boy who loves to sing, play sports and praise God. He stays at Uptown, an area in Nsawam in the Eastern region of Ghana. He has three siblings, one brother and two sisters. They all grew up attending a Roman Catholic Junior high school in Nsawam and always held the things of God very dear to their hearts.
Dominic is the kind of gentleman who has the X-factor when it comes to going the extra mile to help people and in reaching his goal of becoming an Army Officer, Preacher, Sports person and role model. In his secondary education period he served his school with dedication when it came to sports and the choir. He is currently in the third year hoping to complete his final examination and proceed to the University.
In sports he played football, tennis and involved himself in a lot of Physical education, which provided him the opportunity to compete with various sister schools in their zone. Due to this he is well recognized in his school as a brave heart. When he is not engaged in sport, he takes to singing in the school choir where he sings the leading part in songs of praise and worship.
Everyone who knows Dominic said he is the light in every situation, putting smiles on the faces of people and advising his fellow colleagues on what to do when they have skeletons hidden in cupboards and don’t know how to bring them out to the light.
Unfortunately Dominic’s life changed in a split second when his help to a fellow neighbor showed him a different side of life.. On August 2016,a day like any other day, Dominic closed from school, got home and quickly changed because it was raining and his cloths were wet. He went out to take some fresh air and chanced on his neighbor carrying a heavy television to his house. With compassion Dominic decided to help his neighbor carry the Television. The grounds where wet and very slippery but he still decided to help. Just after Dominic took the Television, carriage it on his head, he took a few steps and slipped, his whole body hitting the ground with a great impact. The sudden fall triggered a simultaneous paralysis of the whole body. Dominic became motionless, unable to even speak but he felt pain in his spine while his neighbors gathered around to help.
He was rushed to the emergency ward at the nearest Hospital and later was referred to the Korle Bu teaching Hospital where he received treatment to get better. In the Hospital he received several medications, blood transfusions and infusions, just to get his immune system working again. Then there were MRIs and X-Rays just so the doctors could know what exactly was going on with him internally. From the imaging reports they could see that he had an injury to the cervical spine (neck area) which is causing the paralysis and incontinence.
Six months later Dominic’s situation was getting better when he began moving his hands, head and speaking. Still, he was unable to move his legs. He was later transferred to the Koforidua Hospital where he received more treatment hoping things might improve. Unfortunately he started developing a pressure wound around his buttocks and it grew bigger and bigger since his movement was completely limited. Doctors advised that his wound be treated and healed before any surgery could be done.
The family eventually got stuck financially since they had spent all their money in treating their son’s illness, so they had to bring Dominic home to continue with treatment. Home has been his treatment center for six months. Dominic’s situation and his condition is not getting any better. His mother is dressing the wound every day and spending all they have to buy medicinal provisions for him but the wounds are not healing.
The Community Outreach Team at OTC learned of Dominic’s predicament when information reached us that, a boy of great essence to the society of Nsawam had broken down, and needed urgent aid to enable him to recover. We became his hope for a better life in the future. We did not hesitate and visited him right away. Our first sight of Dominic triggered tears in the eyes of our team and we are working diligently to ensure he gets better. At the moment, Dominic has a personal nurse and physiotherapist who see to his day to day health needs. OTC also provided an adjustable electronic bed to help with his movement, several medicines and food supplements to build up his strength, immune system and blood level. We know that Dominic will get better so we bring all hands on deck, pulling together to improve the life of this wonderful boy.
On 14 March 2018, we celebrated the longstanding relationship between the Australian High Commission of Ghana and the OTC. This joyous occasion was held to officially hand over equipment donated to the OTC’s new Day Care and Therapy Centre for children with Cerebral Palsy by the Ghana Australia Association. Our honored guests included Mrs. Therese Barnes, wife of the Australian High Commissioner, Ms. Claire Maizonnier from the High Commission, and Mrs. Elizabeth Muntar, a representative of the Ghana Australia Association.
Members of the Ghana Australia Association not only located this special equipment, but they also packed and paid for the shipment to Ghana, including the clearance at the port. This was no small task because, as you can see from the photos, the cartons for this equipment were not small!
OTC is so grateful to the Ghana Australia Association for raising the funds to help us as we build the only centre in the Nsawam community area where children with cerebral palsy can be treated with physio and occupational therapy. A limited number also stay for the day so that their parents can work. The children who are in our daycare are given transportation, meals, and their afternoon bath before returning home in the evening.
OTC Director Sister Elizabeth Newman SSND attended a conference a few years ago. It was there that she learned some staggering statistics about cerebral palsy. In the developed world one child is born with cerebral palsy in 500 live births. However, here in Ghana the rate is much higher at one in every 300 live births. The great need for help was obvious, as the number of children being brought to the OTC for care kept increasing. As always, OTC stayed true to its core mission: to care for children with orthopedic needs, no matter what.
With determination, hard work, and many organizations coming together in support, the new daycare center opened. Now it has specialized wheelchairs, standing equipment, and positioning seats, all sized for children. Some are even made to look like small animals, very attractive and child friendly, encouraging the children to use them.
Moms Make It Happen
The key to the early success of the new centre is the involvement of the parents. Those who come faithfully, learn from the therapists how best to work with the children in order to help them overcome their challenges. Moms and even some Dads come, but it is mainly the Moms who are the leaders in care. The love they have for their children is great. You can feel it when they bring their children into the centre. They are patient, they laugh and play with their child, and they are eager to learn more about their child’s needs.
As Sister Elizabeth said to us, “If you want to change attitudes and how we treat children with disabilities, gather a group of dedicated women together, and they will get the job done.”
The work has only just begun, but with leadership from the OTC, the expertise and compassion of dedicated therapists, and support from organizations like the Ghana Australia Association, the center is off to a running start. That combination, together with strong and faithful family love, guarantee that the new OTC Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy will achieve its mission of making a significant, positive change in the lives of those it serves.
Life has a way of creating inspiration, hope, and opportunities for everyone. In spite of diverse challenges, we still hope and pray that our dreams become reality, but sometimes unexpected adversity seems to shake the ground and make a dream seem impossible. Joseph Magab is like many of the children who have achieved wonderful dreams despite the unexpected challenges that came his way.
Joseph was born in the central region of Ghana in Afram plains. He was a healthy and intelligent boy living with his mother and siblings in the northern region of Ghana. He attended a government primary school and a Roman Catholic Church in the area, and he had friends like everyone does.
On one fateful day at school, a group of healthcare workers came to administer medication to all of the children. Unfortunately for Joseph the medication had a devastating side effect. He became sick and experienced boils all over his body. The reaction was severe, and he had to be hospitalized. He was diagnosed with Steven Johnson’s syndrome, a disease that seemed to turn his whole life upside down.
Joseph’s condition worsened because the disease created a condition whereby his body could not produce fluid to keep his eyes well lubricated, and this caused him to lose his vision. He eventually had to drop out of school because of his vision loss and was at home hoping a solution would come his way. He didn’t give up because his family was struggling to make ends meet, so he decided to enrol at the Akropong-Akuapem School for the Blind.
He started at the School for the Blind and had to work harvesting honey in order to pay his school fees and buy food for himself. The school was impressed with his hard work and his ability to cope with school activities and the curriculum in such a short amount of time, so they also helped him financially.
Joseph’s life had taken a turn that allowed his dreams to once again seem possible, butlittle did he know that an accident would lead to his right leg being amputated. It all started when he fell from a step at school and injured his knee. He didn’t want to tell the teachers what had happened, because he was scared they would send him home, which seemed to him a distant place with little hope. So, he kept the injury secret, hoping it would heal, but it got worse and drew the attention of the teachers. The whole school became aware of Joseph’s predicament, and every child gave money to help Joseph to go home and get treatment.He journeyed back home to the north and visited the hospital. Doctors told him that the best option was to amputate his injured leg. The news of losing his leg brought back memories of losing his vision, but he had no option other than to have the amputation. It now seemed to him that all hope was lost. In the midst of this adversity, Joseph was given reason to hope again when his story reached a Good Samaritan who decided to sponsor him to get a prosthetic leg at the Orthopedic Training Centre, OTC, in Nsawam, Ghana.
Today Joseph has gone through intensive rehabilitation and is now walking with his prosthetic leg. The OTC with help from donors, enrolled him in the Akronpong-Akuapem School for the Blind once again and provided a laptop for him thanks to the generous donation of our faithful supporters. After two years absences from school, the warm smiles on the faces of the staff, teachers and students showed Joseph that his dream is still waiting for him to take a hold of and turn into a reality.
Your generous donation of $30 every month allows us make children like Joseph’s dream come true, Whatsapp +233506759386 and ask me how.