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In 2006, 16 % of the Ugandan population was reported to be disabled (2006 Uganda population census) yet due to resourse constraints specialised services for these people are not provided by the government.
The limited services that are available must be paid for by the patient. When 2 of the team visited Mulago Hospital in Kampala in February 2012 they discovered 80% of the people who would benefit from orthotic treatment simply couldnt afford it. So they went untreated.
In the UK we are incredibly fortunate to be immunised against devasting conditions like polio, a highly contagious virus that can lead to paralysis or death. In 1997 it was estimated there were 250,000 Polio survivors (and sufferers) in Uganda.
Following a conversation between Dr Trudy Owens (a Development Economist at Nottingham University) and Eleanor Weinberg (a senior Orthotist at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trusts) an idea was generated. Would it be possible to collect unwanted and used splints and braces in the UK and then use them to improve People's lives in Uganda?
Trudy then approached Simon Dickinson (Head of Service for Orthotics at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trusts) to see if the idea was viable.
From those initial discussions a team of volunteers emerged and with the support of numerous hospitals Orthotic departments and orthotic companies the team were able to collect over 5000 orthoses.
Working in partnership with the National Police Aid Convoy these items are now in Kampala, Uganda.
From an informal conversation the Uganda Disability Project was created (please search for Uganda Polio Project on Facebook for additional information). The team are currently setting up a charity "Uganda Disability Project" and are seeking funding to deliver the project this June and for years to come.
2 members of the team flew to Kampala in February 2012 on a fact finding mission. They met with a number of organisations, medical facilities and charities to create a platform to deliver the project. They were met with hope by these organistions and left with a purpose.
At the clinical facilities it was apparent that the orthopaedic technicians were well skilled but lacked resource and modern techniques.
With your help we can change the lives of people with disability in Uganda!
We have the skilled volunteers and equipment. We have developed a survey instrument to measure the impact on disabled peoples lives. But we need funding to deliver this project.
The most important aspect of this project is that it is effective in helping people with disability and is sustainable.
The economic study driving the project will hopefully provide sufficient evidence to the Ugandan government and other developing countries to influence change.
We cannot treat all polio victims in Uganda. To measure the impact of treatment we will conduct a randomised controlled trial to measure how effective is the treatment of lower limb disability. Are patients able to get about more easily? Can they find a job now ? Do they need less help from their family?
We aim to treat 400 people with lower limb impairments and monitor an additional 400 people who we are currently unable to treat. Without performing this type of study, we cannot prove treatment is beneficial. Next year, with your help and many volunteers, we aim to go back to Uganda to provide orthotic devices to the second 400 group, so at the end all participants of our study will benefit.
Please help us to improve these peoples lives. Any amount will make a difference. Donating 20 pounds will help a polio sufferer have a medical assessement and treatment of their orthotics needs (for the first time for the majority of patients) . We will guarantee an impact assessment of this intervention. We are almost there: the container with the orthotic equipment is in Kampala. The economic team is also there, tuning the asessement tools with help from the local University. The orthotists, physiotherapist, occupational therapist and the doctors are flying next week. Everybody is excited . One final push!
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