How fly-in teams can help children walk again

Specialists from CURE Children’s Hospital changed lives when they flew with MAF to the community of Kibarani, Kilifi.

Children with disabilities are walking again and facing life with new hope and freedom, thanks to a medical team that flies with MAF to reach remote regions of Kenya.

MAF pilot Christiaan Haak flew orthopaedic doctors from CURE Children’s Hospital from Kenya’s capital to Kilifi along the Kenyan Coast for a two-day mobile clinic.

CURE worker Brian Mutiva, who was on board the flight, described the importance of the outreach in shaking off the stigma that surrounds disability in some isolated communities.

He said, “MAF flying to remote locations has opened an opportunity for many children from disadvantaged remote communities to receive specialised treatment that they would not have accessed otherwise. Many were unaware that most disability cases can be corrected and had lost hope as a result.

“I can attest that MAF flights are transformational, and they have restored hope and brought back happiness in families and is an answered prayer to many.

“Seeing a mother gain confidence as her baby walks again, especially after being shunned by families and the community is beyond words.”

One of those children benefiting from the life-changing support provided by the CURE mobile clinics is nine-year-old Issa Mtwana, who was born with cerebral palsy. This condition makes it challenging for Issa to move his head, neck, knees, ankles, and feet. His mother struggles to carry him constantly since he can’t walk on his own.

Issa’s mother first visited the CURE mobile clinic in Kilifi late last year in search of help for her son. The doctors assessed Issa and recommended physiotherapy to strengthen his muscles. They also prescribed special shoes to support him while standing.

During their March visit, Issa’s mother mentioned to Dr Brian Maluki, an orthopaedic surgeon, that his shoes no longer fit.

The clinic technologist measured him for new ones, assuring he would receive them at the next clinic. He advised Issa’s mother to continue physiotherapy, including supporting his head and trunk and stretching his leg muscles.

Dr Maluki said that while cerebral palsy can’t be cured, early interventions and ongoing care greatly improves a child’s life. Physiotherapy, along with occupational and speech therapy, is vital for managing the condition by improving muscle strength, improving mobility, and enhancing overall function.

Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for the best outcomes and to support the child’s development.
Through MAF flights, doctors from CURE can swiftly reach and assist patients like Issa, ensuring vital medical care reaches even the most remote areas.

Joyce Mwakina, from CURE, joined the MAF flight and was proud of the impact.

She said, “CURE exists to ensure that children with physical disabilities reach their full potential through the free surgeries offered at the hospital.

“We are deeply grateful for the invaluable support provided by MAF, which has enabled CURE doctors to extend our reach far and wide, reaching patients in remote areas like Kibarani Kilifi. This partnership has been instrumental in ensuring that children with disabilities, who may otherwise face barriers to accessing healthcare services are able to receive the specialised care they need.”

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