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.
“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.
Farm4Life is an international charity which aims to provide resources to help people flourish. They empower individuals, organizations and communities through sports, education and welfare. Farm4Life is about self-sufficiency. They have different projects in different countries within Africa.
In Ghana, Farm4Life is working through its wings to create a better future for the people. It started in 2003 and was registered in 2007. Lloyd Clewer is the founder, and Sharon Lanfear is the coordinator of this charity that is changing lives for the better. They usually travel across countries to coordinate projects.
The Container Project is one of the wings of Frm4Life which involves collecting goods that can benefit individuals, organizations and communities across Ghana. Through the container project OTC received £50,000 worth of assistive devices.
According to Lloyd and Sharon, they found OTC on the famous BBC documentary, ‘Worst place in the world to be disabled?’ Afterwards they wanted to know the place, and see if we would be interested in some of their mobility and assistive devices. Lloyd, Sharon and Victor (projects manager) visited the OTC prior to their donation. They were here to see the center, and show us some of the items they have to offer. Sis. Elizabeth the director of OTC received them with the public relations person. Sister was very excited when she was shown the kind of devices OTC will be picking up the following day at Farm4Life warehouse.
Farm4Life donated a number of specialized wheelchairs for children with Cerebral Palsy (CP); commode-wheelchairs; shower seats; clubfoot braces; normal wheelchairs and many other items. The representatives of Farm4Life were happy the centre was picking up these items.
We are very grateful to Farm4Life for this opportunity they have given children with CP and many other patients through their donation. We know our patients and clients who receive these items will ooze joy and gratitude. Thanks goes also to PhysioNet, we were told you collected these items for Farm4Life.
Donation is our backbone here at OTC so we humbly appeal to individuals and organizations to keep supporting us in cash or kind.