Category Archives: OTC Stories

Community Discovery: Dominic’s Story

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.

COPY1Dominic 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.

WP_20180221_09_57_32_ProUnfortunately 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.

WP_20180308_10_35_59_1The 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.

 

Defying Heights: Joseph’s Story

joseph pictureLife 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, but

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Joseph’s friends @ the OTC seeing him off

little 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.

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He arrives at the schools premises

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 +233269339092 and ask me how.

 

Defying Heights: Gloria’s Story Part 2

glo2 My disability as stated in my last article was never a problem, but High School made me think otherwise. It exposed me to the real world.

I entered Senior High School (SHS) in the second term, and it was in a boarding school. My new community was not familiar with people with disability like me, so they tend to either loath me, or be over sympathetic around me. I had people who wished I vanished by morning, and those who will wake up at night to make sure I am still breathing.  Times in high school was very hard! I was kicked out of my basketball team after my first tournament, because my coach could not have ‘someone like me’, on her team. She said to me, “People stare too much at you, and it makes most of your teammates nervous so they find it difficult to concentrate on the game.”  This came as a big blow to me. My mother used to tell me I can be whatever I want to be, but little did I know some of these wants were not my decision to make.

IMG-20160505-WA0006When I was in SHS, my trips to OTC kept me; I met other young ladies like me who where seniors when I was only beginning. They all told me the same thing, that I will get used to the people, and they will get used to me. It did not happen the way they said it would. I had friends and tutors who really supported me and I had other people who made it their mission to make my life difficult.  My General Knowledge in Art tutor was very encouraging. She told me, “If you survive high school, and it does not break you, nothing ever can”.

I  survived high school, and all stigma that came with it. Before I completed, I was a dinning hall prefect in my final year; I joined the choir; I stayed in the boarding house till I graduated. They never got over the fact that I had ‘one short crooked leg’ yet did everything. I fetched water with or without prosthesis. IMG-20160310-WA0003I did everything by myself.  Although I did not play basketball I was an active student, and I made sure everyone who was there during my time remembered me.  I also told stories about the OTC, and other children with disabilities to my friends and classmates.

Here I am today living life to the fullest. I have completed  my first degree, and I am a career woman . One day a question came to my mind, and it has been steering my life till now. ‘Would I have been where I am today, if my parents had not sought help for my mobility?’. For the most part I can not tell, but this I know that, OTC has had a great impact on my life.20170517_134130  When you are less dependent on people for your mobility, it makes you a little more confident.  It also changes your self-image. These are few of the gifts OTC have given me.  At the moment, I am the Executive Officer at OTC, raising funds; managing the webpage, receiving guests; being a role model for the children, and an ambassador to the world. I love it here, and I am glad my parents made this choice. OTC is not just a rehabilitation center for people with mobility challenges, but one big family.

My name is Gloria Williston, and this is my story.

If you want to support OTC to give children with mobility challenges a chance to living a full and happy life,  you can reach our hotline on +233268339092; donate in the US via our Venmo account @OTC-Ghana; or visit our Donation column on this page for more options.

 

 

The Story of Nhyira

p1060320This morning I saw an adorable little girl in the Montessori class, her name is Nhyira Aryee. I was amazed as I watched her write with almost every part of her body. Although I saw it as a struggle, she was just fascinated by her activity and everything around her did not matter. The world just grew dim into oblivion. I was moved by the tremendous change in her.

Born with phocomelia of the hands, the parents were pretty devastated. When she was one month old, Nhyira’s parents brought her to OTC but she was very little for assessment. Later in her eighth month, the family returned as suggested by the consultant. On this visit, she advised Nhyira returns for further management when she walks.

In 2015 October, Nhyira returned to OTC at the age of 3 years. She could walk and stand without support. Also she could pick up objects with her hands, but she could not eat on her own. Her mother shared her difficulty in getting Nhyira into school. She explained

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Nhyira with her classmates

that the authorities of the first school she sent Nhyira to told her a couple of weeks later, Nhyira cannot continue with school. The reason was that, some parents complained Nhyira is scaring off their wards with her hands. She was withdrawn soon after. Her mother inquired if it was possible Nhyira could be admitted at OTC so she can be trained to be independent, and have more functional hands. On their next review date, their request was granted.

 

When admitted, nobody could understand this little girl. We could hardly get her to put on shoes or sit in class, a house mother or teacher had to follow her around.The director herself sometimes was babysitting her.

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Nhyira could not eat on her own, and she did not talk. She also had to learn how to go in time to urinate. In the beginning she did not like to participate in any class activity. Most worrying part is she slept abnormally. The minute she closes her eyes you will not count to ten and she is gone. She sleeps in class; she sleeps at play; and when idle it is the best invitation,. Whenever she is not engaged she is ready to doze off.

She was sent to see a sleep Specialist form the USA who was visiting a nearby hospital. After an afternoon sleep assessment, he concluded that Nhyira’s sleep disorder should first be seen by an ENT specialist. She was referred to a local ENT at one specialist Clinic in Accra. There she was given some nose drops and sees the specialist every two months. Her condition is improving.

p1050965In class, Nhyira hardly participated in any activity but with motivation from her teacher and other pupils in her class, she started joining in recitation and coloring. Through her teacher’s observation, we realized that she takes off her shoes whenever she needs to use her feet for activities. Also, we have noticed that she loves attention and cannot be idle. She is a great attention seeker as well.

 

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Nhyira printing her fingers with  the help of her teacher

Moreover, Nhyira’s teacher noticed that she shakes her body when she wants to urinate. She taught her to say ‘I want to wee-wee’ but we still working on that. Some days she will say it at other times she will do her usual ‘shake-shake’ and will cry a couple of times when she gets no attention during this period. 

Nhyira is more active, and gradually she is improving on her behaviour and Activities of Daily Living (ADL). She does a lot of things for herself and her language and speech skills are also better. She will soon see the sleep doctor for night sleep assessment. Nhyira is now learning to write with her toes, and to do more things with her feet.

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Scribbling with her feet

She can put on her pantie after she urinates which was a big challenge for her six months ago. Her social skills have also taken a fascinating leap. She plays more and cries less.

 

20160722_151603OTC hopes to help Nhyira develop her talents and unleash more potentials through Montessori education and ADL training. She is now four years, we hope to get her the right springboard for mainstream school, and to face the life outside the center. With the love, care and training we give to our patients and clients here at OTC, I know Nhyira’s future is promising.

Donate today to support a good cause and to help children like Nhyira. Support us with your expertise, time and funds to spread our wings to help these little ones.

 

Romel and Nick donate $4,000 worth of books to the college

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Romel and Nick (right) presenting academic books

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Romel has been a regular visitor and a good friend of BTPOTC. This year, he and Nick visited the college as education consults and they brought four thousand US dollars’ worth of academic books to donate to the Bro. Tarcisius Prosthetics and Orthotics Training College (BTPOTC). BTPOTC was established in 2013 to train P&O technologists.  They will be the beacons of hope that will reignite the flames of Prosthetic and Orthotic technology in Ghana. A dream of the founder of OTC and the first P&O training college in sub-Saharan Africa. For this reason, the college has attracted students, professionals and lecturers from all over the world. Some pass through, others return and for the rest a memory they will forever  cherished. Amongst these people is Mr Romel Mackelprang, a friend of BTPOTC.

His first visit to Ghana was for a research on wheelchair usage. Through this research, he stumbled on OTC.  Since then, he  have always been visiting the centre. When the college started, he has been visiting with some of the Semester at Sea students every year Semester at Sea is a study abroad program which is run on a cruise ship, and managed and sponsored by Virginia University.

This year, Romel returned but not with his students, he came with Nick, his colleague lecturer at Eastern Washington University. They came as voluntary education consultants to the college. They both have over 30 years experience in the field of education. Romel and Nick were here to assist the college to structure their e-learning programs; and also help with their transition from manual to digital lectures through the use of lecture recording software, videos, VHS, Skype et c.

Hopefully P&O technicians that have no educational backgrounds but are proficient will be have the opportunity to have  credential for their skills and experience.  Romel and Nick worked with the lecturers and students all week. They will return to finish up what they started. It was exciting to have them around. We hope more people like Romel and Nick will join hands with OTC in redefining prosthetics and Orthotics in Ghana through the college.

 

The Girl in the Bowl

‘The Girl’ in the Bowl is the name the press and TV gave to Gifty, a child of 6 1/2 years who was found living in this container.

The Girl in the BowlThe case was reported to Social Welfare by the Community Health Nurse who was on a routine visit to homes in the area where Gifty’s family resides. They reported that they found Gifty in a bowl left unattended, in the sun, isolated from the other family members. The press picked up the story and eventually our Centre was contacted by Social Welfare to see what we could do to help this child.

The initial observation of the team that had visited the home was that Gifty was in an old dirty bowl that had cracked from the pressure of her knees against the side of it. She was sitting naked in her own urine. She looked very dirty and had flies all over her. Her hair was twisted as if it had not been combed for months. She looked very pale, weak and sick. She was not able to stand, sit or respond properly to greetings and questions. Because she had always been kept in a bowl, her body seemed to be taking the shape of the bowl, resulting in bent and twisted legs. She looked too small and skinny for her age (when weighed, she was 15 pounds). On the positive side, the few words she managed to say were clear and sounded intelligent.

Gifty’s mother is 35 years old with eight children. She sells water and oranges on the road. This work enables her to make about $10.00 a month if she is lucky. Her children range in age from 17 years to 7- month-old twins. Gifty’s father died a few years ago.

This story is hard to believe, but we are often faced with cases of children who have been in terrible situations, mostly due to poverty and ignorance.

Gifty at OTC GhanaThese photos show Gifty one week after her coming to us here at the OTC. As you can see, she is not only out of the bowl but is sitting up straight in a stroller. She has been eating well and enjoys interacting with the other children. However, she still needs a great deal of care. Once she becomes strong and infection-free, we will be able to plan for dealing with her spina bifida occult and her spasticity. We are sharing her story with you because we really need financial help in order to offer this child everything she needs: food, clothing, education, and medical care.

If you would like to help Gifty and the other children that have similar stories, please consider donating to OTC.

Gifty at OTC

Miracle at OTC: The Story of Akua

Akua on August 19, 2009. She was fourteen month old

Akua on August 19, 2009. She was fourteen month old

On August 19th, 2009 I was sitting at my desk when I saw a mother carry her child into the treatment room. The baby seemed so small that I followed her to see how old the child was and what was the problem. I was shocked to find out that she was 16 months old and very malnourished.

She had been born at home, had club feet, her fingers were not separated and she had one eye that was not too good. We immediately took her to one of the Catholic Hospitals about two hours away. After a week he came back to us and we kept the child and the mother and started to work with her.

DSC_0224Slowly she started to gain weight and we started the treatment on the club feet. She was sent to eye specialist who said nothing could be done, she has a chronic infection in her left eye. Recently we were able to have a plastic surgeon separate her fingers. Now the plan is in November to cast her feet again then have a small surgery to correct her feet a little more.

Akua has grown into a nice little girl and is attending school. We see her often and have helped her with school fees.

We thank God for this miracle and pray that she will be able to continue her education and be a good family member and citizen of Ghana.

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Akua now almost 7 years old.