New Donation Button for OTC

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.

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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).


ISMIS GROUP with the Director of OTC

We really appreciate all the effort the ISMIS team put together in creating this new donation button. Thank you very much ISMIS, OTC loves you.

image Donate to make a child’s life better

Emmanuel’s Source of Light

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“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”.

WP_20180226_12_50_34_ProHe 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.

WP_20180226_10_25_11_ProToday, 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.

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.

 

A Very Special Day at OTC

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. Comm. 1Our 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!

Comm. 8OTC 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.

The Motivation

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.

Comm. 6With 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

IMG_20180314_104420...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.

 

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.

 

 

Community Outreach Program at OTC

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Gloria (Physiotherapist on rotation), Saki (second from left), Sr. Esther SSND (third from left) and their COP guests from the Netherlands

The Community Outreach Program (COP) is a community-based rehabilitation program by the Physiotherapy department of OTC. The team goes out to the communities to see people with CVA, CP and other neurological problems which needs only physiotherapy.  All other orthopedic problems they find are referred to the centre.

 

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Therapy session with an elderly woman who has CVA @ Asikafoamantem

COP is an initiative by Ms Saki Shibata, a 28 year-old Japanese physiotherapist volunteer at OTC. Saki came to the centre through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) volunteer program. Her assignment was to see patients that come to OTC, and improve the quality of the skills of the physiotherapy department.

She realized after a while that people were not coming to clinic regularly, although she saw other people with conditions like Cerebral Palsy and children with clubfoot in the community. “These are conditions that OTC treats but the people in the community do not even come”, she wondered. Initially, she thought they had challenges with their finances so she did a survey and realized it was not all about money. The people had so many other reasons like religion, superstition, cultural believes and ignorance about the importance of consistent treatment in the management of a child’s condition.

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The Team on their way to home visiting

This was the genesis of the OTC-COP. She joined the community nurse from the Notre Dame clinic, Sr. Esther SSND to visit communities close to the centre. They started with three communities, and there they discovered that there were four old patients who had stopped coming to the centre. the team also found a few new patients in on home visits. Saki treats the people in the community if they have neurological problem like CVA and Cerebral Palsy. Other than these, they are referred to the OTC outpatient clinic on Mondays.

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Therapy session with Aggie,  a Cerebral Palsy patient in the Adoagyiri community

According to Miss Saki,  her aims for this initiative is to educate people in the community on their treatment plan; the condition of sickness and how to manage it; also how to exercise properly. Then again, find new cases who are not treated in the community, and finally bring patients back to mainstream clinic through education, counselling and treatment. Above all, she hopes the program helps in reducing stigma attached to disability in communities through community-based rehabilitation.

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Kerri (left), a Speech and Language therapist from London comes on COP @ Sakyikrom

The community Outreach Program started about 18 months ago, and it has been very successful. As the number of communities has increased to five. People around the most visited areas are now a little conscious of the congenital deformities and we are receiving more positive response from the natives.  RIMG3508   We hope to extend to the remote parts of our municipal assembly, and save as many lives as possible.

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OTC… We put people on their feet!