Australian High Commissioner visits OTC

rimg3902The new Australian High Commissioner, Mr. Andrew Barnes with his wife, son and an official from the High Commission visited OTC last Thursday. The visit was for them to familiarize themselves with the work of the OTC. One of the former High Commissioners, Mr. Billy Williams has spoken to them about the work we were doing.

rimg3768Sister Elizabeth toured them through the centre. This has become a tradition for welcoming our guests that visit for the first time.  The High Commissioner and his family started their expedition from our workshop. The manager, Mr. Daniel Yeboah explained the activities and sections to the guests. From there, the High Commissioner’s family was led by Sister Elizabeth and the General Manager to the back-compound where the physiotherapists were busy with their weekly clubfoot clinic. Our guests were thrilled to meet the babies and their mothers.

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Time with Gifty at physiotherapy

Afterwards, they proceeded to the Children’s department where they ended the children’s anticipation. Mr. and Mrs. Barnes with their son visited Gifty who was having her physiotherapy, the children’s dormitories, and the various classes.

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Children sing ‘you are my sunshine’ for the high commissioner

Their visit to the department was crowned with three beautiful songs from the children. The High Commissioner warmed our hearts when he shook hands with each child as the music was going on.

 

Finally, they visited the Br. Tarcisius Prosthetics and Orthotics Training College. He was very happy to see what his high commission had done. The Australian High Commission under Mr. William’s administration gave OTC a grant to help us build the college, which is becoming a beacon of our time in terms of prosthetics and orthotics.  Mr. Henry Larbi, the principal of the

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Mr. Barnes at the college workshop

college received the guest with the head of P&O department, Nana Agyei. rimg3852They visited all the classes to say hello to the students. The school paused all activities to come out, welcome and say thank you t

 

It was all together a beautiful experience. Our guest were very interactive and friendly, and somewhere in the darkness they became the children’s sunshine and a part of the OTC family. We were honored to host Mr Barnes and his family. For this priceless gift which is their time, we say ‘Ayekoo’. Long Live Australia!

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.

 

2nd Lady of the Republic of Ghana visits OTC

0000093The wife of the Vice president Her excellency Mrs. Matildah Amissah-Authur visited and donated quantities of school bags and materials for education, two desktop computers, baskets of fruits, bags of rice and maize, and mini gallons oil.

The 2nd lady was received and toured through the center by the assistant director, Mr. Raphael Amuzu-Dzamashie and Mr. Kofi Ohene the General Manager. She was accompanied by the Regional Minister, honourable Mavis Frimpong and the MCE for Nsawam Adoagyiri Municipal Assembly, Mr. Ben Ayeh.

P1060220The last section of the center Mrs. Amissah-Authur visited was, the Br. Tarcisius Prosthetics and Orthopedics Training College (BTPOTC), where she interacted with the principal Mr. Henry Larbi, and with the help of the students she familiarized herself with the program as well.

 

After the tour, Mrs. Amissah-Arthur was very impressed and said that it was an insightful experience. To our utmost awe, she was also very pleased with how clean and orderly our environment was. She commended the Leadership for maintaining such strict environmental 100_5291cleanliness. The second lady said Father Campbell of the Christ the King Parish ask her to visit and assist OTC. She also lauded the centre and employees for the good job we have been doing, and encouraged us to do more to ensure quality health-care in Ghana. She used the juncture to call on corporate organizations to support the centre.

 

Rev. Sis. Elizabeth Newman SSND, director of OTC used the opportunity to thank Mrs. Amissah-Authur for her kind gesture especially for providing resources for quality health care delivery in the country and urged her to continue with her good works. 100_5286

The primary purpose of OTC is the rehabilitation of physically challenged in Ghana and beyond. We urge all friends and loved ones to support us in cash or kind. Be the hand that put more people on their feet today.

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.

 

Highlights of 2015

ACHIEVEMENTS

Introduction of Limbs International LIMBS Knee

IMG_20160512_155222OTC has the privilege to be the place where people can have a ‘LIMBS Knee experience’. Limbs international has increased access to prosthetic knees used in Trans-femoral prosthesis through the production of the first low-cost, multi-axis knee. Our facility introduced this knee last year, we tried 10 new knees and it was succ-limbs kneeessful.  The clients only complained about the foot which is not cosmetically accepted.  Our technicians have come together to make the foot more acceptable. LIMBS International has requested for a step-by-step video which will be beneficial to other institutions that may be interested in using the foot.

 

 Mobile Clinic Extension

IMG-20160225-WA0016The mobile clinic Unit (Trek) is spreading their wings and giving more people the opportunity and access to rehabilitation and better lives. The team have two new stops in the Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions. Last year, the mobile clinic unit saw 2,233 patients and traveled 25,000 km.

 

 

Workshop

The carpentry and orthotics department of the workshop has modified some of their 1462533871663devices to bring more comfort to our patients/clients. Some of the clients especially children need to use splints during the day. The Orthotics department then P1050859put straps on the back slabs to improve the appearance and keep the legs firmly in place. This is to replace the cumbersome bandage. The carpentry department has also changed the style of the crutch head to help it hold the armpit in place and prevent the arms from slipping.

 

College

With the help of our donors, OTC has been able to provide a hostel facility for the first and second year students at the Bro. Tracisuis Training College. Also, the students demonstrated their devotion to not just their education but the people they will be serving. On 29th November 2015, they went to give their support at the Dan Devan Disability Sport Festival at the Ohene Djan Sport Stadium.

Employment

The college has increased their human resource by 4 employees; an Administrative assistant, a storekeeper, a librarian and a lecturer. OTC also employed a Public Relations Person and an assistant accountant. OTC is growing and, so is its human resource expanding.

 

Children’s Department

The children of OTC do not only receive gifts and donations, they are givers as well. During IMG_0381Christmas holidays, the children go out to give gifts and to entertain the patients and staff of the two healthcare providers in Adoagyiri who care of their health needs. This year, they sang the “Twelve Days of Christmas” carol and sent out their glad tidings to the new-born babies and everyone lucky to be in their way.

 

EVENTS

Beaver Clinic Dental Charity

P1040859Beaver Clinic is a dental surgery which have been giving OTC free dental care every two years since 2011. So far this year’s dental care was the biggest dental care charity the surgery has done. In August 2015, they had the third dental charity for OTC, this cost them $15,195 (Fifteen thousand one hundred and ninety five Dollars) approximately GHc60, 780.  There were volunteers from Manchester University, England who assisted in the dental checks and care at OTC and their surgery in Accra.P1040925Dr and Mrs Illogu were very excited to help in a way they know best– dental care. Every employee and patients with their caregivers/ parent on admission was seen. According to one of the volunteers, most of the problems were ‘meat problems’ which means broken teeth and holes. She was surprised there were less tooth decay than she thought. With the help of the volunteers from Manchester University, it was a great success.

 

Ghana International Women’s Club (GIWC) Annual Christmas Party

IMG_0211GIWC has been the Santa Claus of the children in OTC for a number of years. They come around every December to have lunch with them and sing Christmas carols. This year among the many things they did, was to bring along Santa Claus who carried the children, and made some of the children’s dreams of having the opportunity to see him come true. 

 

First Founder’s Day Celebration

The 4th of December is the birthday of the noble founder of this great establishment. Upon IMG_0280his death, the management of OTC chose to make Brother Tarcisius birthday a day to celebrate him. On this day, everyone at OTC went to the beach house at Prampram to celebrate him and make merry as we strive to continue Brother’s good work.

 

 

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

Meet the volunteers from Operation Groundswell

Some OTC management Members with volunteers form Operation Groundswell

Some OTC management Members (Mr. Larbi Henry and Mr.Ohene  Kofi ) from left, with volunteers form Operation Groundswell

Operation Groundswell is a Canadian nonprofit nongovernmental organization that facilitates educational programs and service programs throughout the world. Their mission is to change the way the world travel, hence they backpack with purpose (this is about being conscious and critical of their impact on the community they travel to). Operation groundswell has been in Ghana for the past nine years. Every summer the students come to Ghana to learn our version of global health. This year is their sixth year of Global Health Program, and their program focuses on the different issues facing society they go to. They facilitate workshops that challenge the individual to think critically and objectively about the real meaning of change or making a difference.

OTC has been receiving visitors from both far and near since the center started, all with different missions and from different backgrounds, countries and even language. On 24th July, 2015, we received student volunteers from Operation Groundswell. They were here in Ghana to spend 6 weeks. They will spend their first week in study of urban health care in Accra; the subsequent weeks in application of their knowledge in Cape Coast and Sandema, both as interns and volunteers respectively. OTC was the last stop for their Accra trip.

The co-coordinators of this year’s program, Sarindi and Rebekah visited OTC on 3rd July, 2015, to enquire about, and request their teams visit to the center. They told the management their team will be coming to study about disability and accessibility at OTC on the 24th of the month. Sarindi and Rebekah told OTC that they chose the center because disability is a very important issue in health, they did not want to focus on the medical aspects of health alone. They want the students to get a comprehensive understanding of health. Also, they said in their interview with Gloria that, they selected the center for the reason of its holistic approach to disability and that is very exciting for them to see. Sarindi and Rebekah want to clear the teams’ preconceived notions of what health in Africa and Ghana is like, hence they want to break the stereotypes down and give the students a whole different point of view to health.

The team on the 24th of July 2015 came, and were shown around the center. After their tour, they went to the school where they were welcomed by Mr. Ohene Kofi the general manager of OTC, then lectured by Ms. Rachel Oduro the center’s physiotherapist and Mr. Henry Larbi on what we do at OTC, and disability and accessibility in Ghana.

After everything Rebekah and Sarindi told us they were very thrilled about the way the center educates the mothers on how to bring up their children with disabilities. Also how we have all these services necessary for our clients in one place is incredible to them. They liked the fact that we have a school that is formalizing our training and getting more people involved professionally in this field. Finally the team leader, told OTC that their questions where all answered and they like the way Gloria put a face to the success of defying cultural stigmatization.

OTC wishes them well as they go out there to practice all they have learned. Farewell Operations Groundswell.

Pricelessmom Foundation visits OTC

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We were honored to receive delegates from Pricelessmom Foundation, an NGO that seeks to improve the lives of women through empowerment, advocacy, and seminars. After meeting OTC for the first time at the Yak-Dan Tennis Clinic in Kumasi, Pricelessmom wanted to know more about OTC and what we do. On 9th July, 2015, four people from the foundation paid the center a visit to see how they can work together with OTC to help the mothers in the center.

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The delegates fell in love with the center after they toured, the workshop, the school, the children’s department and the backcompound where the mothers who have brought their children for rehabilitation are housed. Their excitement grew when they were told about the mobile clinic which is a means of reaching the poor and patients that cannot make it to Nsawam due to various reasons.

After the tour, the principal of the college, Mr Henry Larbi and Sister Magdalene Umoh SSND, discussed the way forward with Pricelessmom. This is the beginning of a promising relationship. The foundation was happy to come around, and be part of a big family that has set out to break barriers to disability, unleash the potentials of persons with different abilities and make the world a better place. We hope to see them soon with their tools and all hands on deck.

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.

Head Teacher of OTC Becomes Queen Mother

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On May 8, 2015 our headteacher Vivian Opeku was enstooled as Queen Mother of her village Liati in the Volta Region. Vivian will now be known as Queen Mother Mama Agoe II.

On May 22, 2015 Queen Mother Mama Agoe II was escorted to the Orthopedic Training Centre by the elders and Chief Torgbe Kpordze II to greet the staff and children.

Vivian has been at the OTC since 2002 and will retire from the teaching service next year.

We congratulate Queen Mother Mama Agoe II and wish her well as she assumes her new responsibility for her traditional area.