Talent Gore

ST GILES medical rehabilitation centre is seeking US$100 000 to refurbish and buy equipment, according to its board chairperson, Nancy Mache.

Speaking at a walkathon held to raise awareness about cerebral palsy on Saturday, Mache said the paediatric unit needs tiling, new chairs and beds with court sides, and secure dormitory windows and bedding.

In addition, the occupational, physiotherapy and speech therapy departments require new equipment. It also needs equipment such as wheelchairs for children with cerebral palsy.

Mache appealed to the corporate and social communities for support, saying the financial need was huge and the facility relied on donations to continue operating.

“Because we are a non-profit organisation, we rely a lot on the friends of St Giles who donate and support our work.

“Currently, the community of donors has significantly shrunk and as such, we face a lot of challenges financially and in terms of equipment we use for children and adults,” said Mache.

St Giles Paediatric Unit sister-in-charge, Betty Mazire, said the situation was forcing them to improvise and use makeshift equipment at the expense of the safety of children with cerebral palsy.

“Our Unit needs tiling, especially in the girls’ hostel. We also need new chairs, as we improvise a lot,” she said.

“We don’t even have cerebral palsy wheelchairs.

“We use ordinary wheelchairs and they are not proper because our children do not have head control, so we need proper CP chairs which have buckles for them so that they are safe.

“At the moment, because we do not have buckles, we are securing them with clothes.

“We have also improvised and made some ring mats just to ensure the children get somewhere to sit because the beds we have are not safe for them.

“If we get beds with courtsides, it will be very safe, we also need mattresses because the mattresses that we have are too thin, and they have no comfort.”

Physiotherapy Department acting head, Tabeth Ratibu, said the facility is serving patients from the country’s 10 provinces and this was having a toll on the quality of service.

“About 60 to 70 percent of the children we see have cerebral palsy. We have kids who come from as far as Chipinge, Renco Mine and other parts of the country.

“We are serving the whole of Zimbabwe, but we don’t have modernised equipment and have to improvise.”

She said there is also a need to decentralise rehabilitation services for children with cerebral palsy.

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