Sikugua, 27 years old lives in Mbagala, Temeke district of Dar es Salaam, which is close to the International Airport. She smiled when we asked if she lived far away.
“It is no far, but it takes 3 hours to reach CCBRT*, taking the bus is a battle, it is not accessible, they often stop in the middle of the road next to another bus … and they are always in such a hurry”.
When she was 8 years old, Sikugua lost her left leg due to a snakebite. She is amputated above her knee and moves around with one (auxiliary or shoulder) crutch. Her left arm and shoulder are blue from the pressure.
“It is painful, ” she said. “I need a leg, so my arm can heal”.
Sikugua received her first prosthesis when she was 9 years old. She nicely explained how “a good Samaritan” sponsored her first prosthesis. Sikugua was sad when she explained that the man died and her family could not afford keeping up with the costs of rehabilitation services (children grow fast and require a new socket between every 3 to 6 months). Only after 17 years Sekugua finally received a second prosthetic leg.
Life is hard for Sikugua and her younger sister. Both live with their grandmother who can barely support herself. Sikugua suffers from unemployment, and her family is stricken by poverty.
“I did not know what to do, but soon I will be able to walk and I hope I can learn to work in a tailor shop”
On average, 90% of people in developing countries who require a mobility device do not have access to physical rehabilitation services. Persons with disabilities face multiple barriers and challenges and face social exclusion. Only 20% or less are employed. (World Report on Disability, 2011)
Disability and poverty reinforce and perpetuate one another
* The CCBRT (Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania) is one of our key partners, and a provider of disability services in Tanzania. We signed a cooperation agreement with the CCBRT in 2013, for a period of 5 years.
Shortly after this agreement, we relocated our regional training center to CCBRT’s premises where we host experts in the field of prosthetics, orthotics, and physiotherapy to train both CCBRT staff members, and clinicians from around the world.
By training physical rehabilitation professionals in Tanzania, we contribute to building a sustainable system, helping a larger number of persons with disabilities.
In 2015, CCBRT’s prosthetist & orthoptist clinic welcomed 20 patients each day for artificial limbs and other devices!