Physiotherapy in the COVID-19 Lockdown
For the last three months (April to June), many ministries and agencies were brought to a standstill in Uganda, due to the COVID-19 Lockdown restrictions. Stars Ministries Uganda (SMU) was no exception. For the Stars (children with disabilities served by SMU), the Lockdown meant no weekly attendance at the Stars Ministry and Day Care Center. This continues to be the case as most places that bring together more than fifteen people remain closed, including schools and churches. Inability to attend Day Care, heightened the need for the services often received at Center, especially physiotherapy for the Stars.
SMU staff and volunteers have known all along, that one of the greatest needs among the Stars is Physiotherapy. This is often a result of the Stars’ inability to move on their own. The reasons for their immobility besides the physical disabilities are varied. Some are left alone at home because their caregivers have to make the difficult choice of going to work, to fend for their families, instead of staying home to care for their Stars. Other Stars are abandoned because their potential caretakers have strongly held superstitions that Stars are a source of misfortune. Yet, still, others do not know what to do, or how to handle children with disabilities.
Part of SMU’s work is to educate the communities that we work with, and the families that we work directly with, about the value of their children, despite their disabilities. SMU carries out awareness campaigns about children with disabilities and training sessions for caregivers, on how to take care of their children. Training and coaching continue through home visits, where SMU staff and volunteers are able to work with a caregiver in the environment where their child lives.
SMU has highlighted and is focused on offering physiotherapy services during this period of partial opening up of the lockdown. This need, heightened by the fact that the places where these services are offered remain closed, is being prioritized as the country opens up after the COVID-19 lockdown. “We don’t want our children to retrogress from the progress we had made with them before the lockdown”, says the SMU Director, Mrs. Sylvia Kalyebara. SMU is also aware that most parents of the Stars are prioritizing the restoration of their families’ livelihoods, and may not have time to do physiotherapy, or might not know how to offer physiotherapy to their children.
Get involved with SMU today by sponsoring a star. Visit our “Get Involved” page on this site for details on how to give or get in touch. You can also give through our International Partners Faith and Learning International.