Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Visit to the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed

Today I visited the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed (CRP), the only hospital in Bangladesh which specializes in treating people with spinal cord injuries and replacement limbs.  I visited with Gwen, the volunteer physiotherapist working with me at BSMMU, as well as an American teacher, Alicia.

CRP has a workshop where they make all of the rehabilitation and physiotherapy equipment that they need.

Gwen and I were specifically interested in looking at the types of walkers which CRP could make for us to use on the cancer ward.  Due to prolonged hospitalizations, children with cancer at BSMMU often get very weak muscles and have trouble walking. Some of the medications which they receive as part of their cancer treatment also cause muscle atrophy or wasting which may contribute to their weakness.  Unfortunately, their parents are very hesitant to encourage their child to continue to walk and move around while in hospital as they don't understand that this will actually help the child to stay well and avoid becoming extremely weak.  Due to immobility, the children are also at higher risk of developing pneumonia, which can be deadly.

Made in Bangladesh child-sized walker.  This would be perfect for BSMMU.  

Locally made rocking horse, which will help with balance and coordination.

Therapists at CRP working with children with Cerebral Palsy.  One of the few places in Bangladesh to treat children with this problem.

CRP is an amazing place!  It is not just a hospital or clinic, but a community.  There is a retraining centre to help those who have had a spinal cord injury learn skills to help them work again.  There is an amazing school which integrates children with cerebral palsy into the mainstream classrooms.

Integrating those with disabilities is a very unusual idea in Bangladesh as those with disabilities are often completely shunned from society and the individual is often blamed for their disability. At CRP there is a class given for family members of children with cerebral palsy to educate the relatives that this problem is not the mother's fault or due to anything that the family has done.  (The mother is often accused of causing these problems in the child, or the family blames evil spirits or ghosts)  There is so much stigma and ignorance about disability in Bangladesh, but CRP is working to change this.

The cost of treatment at CRP is adjusted based on what the family can afford. The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, which Dan administers was able to support the work of CRP this year.  The money they gave went directly to helping those who were injured in the Rana Plaza factory collapse.  I saw a class of Rana Plaza survivors who were receiving training at CRP to become tailors after recovering from their injuries.

Rana Plaza survivors get re-trained to become tailors after recovering from their injuries at CRP.

Play equipment at the integrated school.

This article talks more about CRP in relation to the Rana Plaza factory collapse:!/

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