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Rwanda Appeal

Manchester-based orthopaedic provider and London-based physiotherapist have joined forces in order to improve orthopaedic care for children in Rwanda. Project leader Alison Hawksley and two physiotherapists Kate Hunt and Jette Jakobsen, whom launched an appeal to improve orthopaedic care in remote parts of the impoverished country, returned this week after a successful visit to the area to distribute casting materials donated by medical equipment company Benecare Medical.

The ASFA Physiotherapy Centre in the Nyaruguru District of Rwanda provides support to hundreds of individuals living with musculoskeletal issues in its surrounding communities. The correction and prevention of club foot, varus, valgus, lower limb and spinal deformity is paramount, particularly in younger patients, to prevent or minimise lifelong problems.

However, Plaster of Paris, a necessary casting material for the teams work, is usually too expensive a resource for the people of Nyaruguru.

The team did exploratory pop up clinics two years ago to investigate the need for a physiotherapy clinic in Muganza. Last year they then set up the centre for paediatric play therapy and rehabilitation with Rwandan physiotherapist Sister Josepha Uwumuremyi.

Ian Lachs, Director at Benecare Medical, said, ‘We are tremendously proud to be donating to such a worthy cause. I’m sure our relationship with Kate and the Rwanda Appeal will continue to flourish moving forward.’

Ms Hunt, said, ‘Our centre is growing stronger every month – they are so good at putting in place ideas and working constantly towards improving the service. The centre is in a very rural village area that is extremely poor.

Rwanda, which was ravaged by genocide in 1994, has made remarkable economic progress in the past two decades, but poverty remains a significant threat. A low-income, food-deficit and least-developed country according to the 2009 UNDP Human Development Report, remote areas such as Nyaruguru still suffer from the repercussions of genocide, and the community would not ordinarily have access to this standard of healthcare.