The Physio Department


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Africa » Sierra Leone
September 24th 2013
Published: September 24th 2013
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This is a very small blog just to say a massive thankyou to all of you who have donated to the Physio department project. We have yet to achieve the amount we need but hopefully in the coming weeks it will come. As David said, we managed to get into the centre fold of the Tavistock Times, an achievement that I had been trying for for the last 33 years! So hopefully that will make a difference.

It was incredibly sad to leave, especially for those patients who still have a long way to go with their treatment but great to know there is a team there that really care. The arrival of Mother heralded a great learning opportunity for the four Physio aids (and myself) and she taught several lectures to the team on various paediatric conditions. One of the aids, called Kadiatu, was so taken with the work that she now wants to 'specialise' and start a community paediatric outreach service which just goes to show how a little education can make a huge amount of difference. Having specialists come out really enthuses the Physio aids and I just wish they could have more access to people like Mother, who albeit retired, still retains a large amount of knowledge. If you are interested, please get in touch!

I have written about Fatmata before, the 16 yr. old who has spent the last 3 years in Masanga. She has an unknown disease that has left her paralysed. Mother suggested obtaining an x ray which revealed a completely fused joint, so no amount of physio would have done anything. We asked the local orthopaedic surgeon to have a look but after examining her, he reported that he would not be able to do anything. Initially I was under the impression that he simply hadn't been taught to carry out such a procedure but he pulled me aside and told me that Fatmata's condition was due to black magic and even if we did try to intervene, she would die on the operating table. He pointed to the white of her eyes and seemed to think it was a sign of the magic. Well...how do you reply? A man trained in Tanzania who has been, for the past 5 months of knowing him, my main 'refer to man'. But its a different culture and we can not presume to always understand what is going on. As we wrote about previously, black magic is widely believed and even non believers have been persuaded after diseases have been cured by witch doctors and not medical doctors.

So we have decided together to get her seen by visiting Italian and UK orthopaedic surgeons when they visit the nearest city next month. He is unconvinced that she will survive but is happy to try and help her. A good conclusion.

The Physio department is now properly up and running accepting about 15 patients a day with many more being seen on the wards. Its wonderful to see and I just hope it continues to evolve and one day be self sufficient without the need of volunteer physios helping out. So once again, thank you so much to all of you who have donated.

Best wishes

Love Jo


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