Thursday, 9 July 2009
Something that has been new to me is that many times, Moses and I have had to diagnosis a child with a disability based on our expertise. In West, a medical doctor will diagnose a child, and then refer them to the OTs. Unfortunately, it doesn't usually work that way in Uganda. For several reasons.. the people in the village many times will take their child to the witch doctor first to be healed.. when that doesn't work then they may go to a hospital or medical clinic or come to Spring of Hope. Medical records aren't kept very religiously, so even if a diagnosis was made the family may not know what it is.
Therefore at the outreach clinics or drop-in days at the office, many new children come. It is important for us to know the birth history and past medical history in order to make an accurate decision on why we think this child has a disability. In some cases, the child was just given to the grandparent and the parents have no contact with her- so birth history and/or complications with pregnancy can also be unknown. It's quite a tedious and sometimes frustrating process. Basically what I'm seeing is that these children are being born.. and they either get sick shortly after birth or possibly at birth.. and it is not treated until much later, which causes more harm to the child. It seems that people here need to be better informed on the urgency of treatment for various illnesses. Spring of Hope does do that, but most of the time the damage has already been done once they have been brought to Spring of Hope. Many families complain that they do not have the money for transport or medical fees, so that is why they wait this long. I feel fortunate for living in the U.S. with systems like medicaid that would provide for those needs.. unfortunately, that would not solve Uganda's problems. Instead we will work to increase awareness... ignorance leads to poverty and vice versa.