When you walk into Katalemwa Cheshire Home, a facility that has been taking care of disabled children since 1970, your mood changes to sombre. This sad change of mood is caused by the vicinity of children struggling to live.
Many of these children are born with disabilities while some are disabled by accidents and diseases. Their parents bring them to Katalemwa for correctional therapy and medical rehabilitation. And as it is well documented, Katalemwa is doing a good job however they are strained by their insufficient resources.
Katalemwa receives about 20, 000 children every year brought in from different parts of the country yet the facility is ill equipped. For example it has only 200 beds which means it struggles to host all patients brought in. So they only retain serious cases and other cases are attended to at home.
To continue offering services Katalemwa solicits for funding from donors, corporate organizations and well-wishers. On Tuesday, 12 April, 2016, Goldstar Insurance, one of the leading insurance services providers in Uganda, visited the home and delivered 25 wheelchairs to benefit some of the needy children and adults.
According to Paul Kavuma, the deputy managing director of Goldstar Insurance, the wheelchairs contribution is one of the many activities the insurance company is going to carry out as they celebrate making 20 years in business. Goldstar started operating in Uganda in 1996. And for that matter, they are carrying out a series of CSR activites and give back to community.
Samali Matovu, the executive director of Katalemwa Cheshire Children’s Home acknowledged that the donation will help them rehabilitate children. She lamented that many parents cannot afford to buy equipment for their children hence the need for support from organizations like Goldstar.
“With the new wheelchairs from Goldstar, children will be able to access social services like education because they can now move to school. Mobility had hampered them.” Matovu, who revealed that sustaining the home’s activities is a challenge, said.
Katalemwa offers services like occupational therapy, physiotherapy, counselling, measurement and fitting of assistive devices, construction of therapy equipment at home using locally available raw materials and empowering caregivers with basic rehabilitation skills to children suffering from spina bifida, hydrocephalous, cerebral pulse, intellectual disabilities, and bone deformities among other complications.
Olive Nabiryo, an occupational therapist at the home explained that children go through stages when recovering. She said that many of the children have weak limbs therefore they can support their bodies. “We go through stages, after one stage, we go to another, sometimes the child takes a lot of time to learn a stage. We work with parents and we teach them how to rehabilitate their children. Parents learn from what we do.” She said.
Hussein Lukwago, also an occupational therapist, said that because of weak limbs children cannot control their muscles. But through physiotherapy, these children are taught how to walk, eat, use toilet and move their bodies.
The home also has a playground which is used by children to play and relax. It is fitted with learning materials and play tools. Barbara Namudope, the programmee officer at the home, explained that playing is part of the therapy. The home also has a learning center which according to Berna Namujuzi said is used to teach these children daily living skills that help them to be independent.
Through donations, the home managed to construct their own workshop from where they make eqipments used by the children. From the workshop, they make wheelchairs, standing flames, walkers, CP chairs, crunches, beds, toilelts.
William Semuyamba, an orthopedic technician said sometime they make an equipment according to the need of the patient. “We try to suit the needs of the user.” He said.
Sharifah Nansumba, another orthopedic technician, said they use local material to make these equipments because their suitable for the environment, readily available, easy to repair while the imported equipment are expensive and hard to repair because spare parts are not available.