The Rehabilitation Centre “Huduma Ya Walemavu”
The rehabilitation Centre “Huduma Ya Walemavu”(Service for Disabled), supported by the Foundation of Njokuti, is situated just outside Monduli town, the capital of the Monduli District, at the foot of the Monduli Mountains (almost 2700 meter altitude), Tanzania.
The Monduli Rehab Centre has 30 beds and a staff of 20 Tanzanians: nurses, ‘house mothers’ (who provide the daily care for the children), a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, an orthotics technician and supporting staff.
The Rehab Centre has an outreach programme in Monduli District and the neighbouring Ngorongoro and Babati Districts. The districts are divided into six outreach areas that are visited by a team of health workers with a certain frequency. In each area the team has ongoing contacts with trained volunteers – the ‘community health workers’, selected by the communities and trained in the Rehab Centre. These volunteers are respected in their communities and know the disabled children by name and the problems in their area. It is their task to strengthen the position of the disabled, to create awareness in the population and to support the people with disabilities with a successful integration in their communities.
The government of the Monduli District faces so many problems that the care for people with a disability is not their first priority. The approach of the district government towards people with a disability might symbolize the position of handicapped people in general in Tanzania: they are often considered as a burden, a punishment of God or ancestors. As a consequence they are often isolated and hidden inside their homes.
Some development organisations focus on the development of Monduli and neighbouring districts. One of these organisations is Caritas Germany, who supports the Rehabilitation Centre in their activities. They contribute to the maintenance of the buildings and transport for outreach activities, but ongoing costs such as salaries, food, schoolfees, and medical treatment of the disabled children are still to be paid by the government , the centre and patients themselves. This is not always within their possibilities.
The main activity of the Rehab Centre is to support children with physical disabilities. However, also children with intellectual disabilities and blind and deaf children are assisted. For them, the centre lobbies and pays for admission in schools for their education.
The Monduli Centre also identified a great number of children with congenital or acquired deformities, such as clubfeet or skeletal fluorosis (due to a very high fluoride content in the only available water sources), badly healed fractures, burns and harelips. So far, there are not enough Tanzanian specialists who are able to do these operations. Therefor the centre depends on support from abroad.
Important and valuable cooperation has developed between the Njokuti Foundation, Selian Hospital in Arusha and the Monduli Rehabilitation Centre. Doctors from Njokuti (orthopedic and plastic surgeons) visit the Centre a couple of times a year and offer their support. After surgery the children recover in Selian Hospital and are then dismissed for further rehabilitation in the Monduli Centre. There they get training and if necessary, crutches, braces or prostheses to get them “back on their feet”. As much as possible and feasible the previously operated children are seen by the surgeons on their next visit for check up and evaluation. The outreach team plays an important role in this follow up.
In the past few years a cooperation with Haydom Hospital and the Foundation of Njokuti has started as well.