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Uganda: "At last my daughter can go to school"


Inclusion | Rehabilitation | Uganda | PUBLISHED ON May 22nd 2024
Children in school uniforms stand single file in front of an adult seen from behind. In the front row, a little girl wearing braces on both legs.

Grâce à ses nouvelles orthèses, Gina va à l’école et aime jouer avec ses amis, avril 2024. | © Infomercial Media / HI

Gina, 4 years old, lives in Uganda. She has knock-knees, which makes her daily life difficult and painful. HI has fitted her with 3D-printed knee-ankle-foot orthoses to correct the alignment.

Gina's knee problem affects her daily life

Gina (not her real name) is 4 years old and lives with her parents and brothers and sisters near the Kyangwali refugee settlement in Uganda. Gina has a condition commonly known as "knock-knees", which makes it difficult and painful for her to walk long distances.

Her mother had noticed that her daughter's gait was gradually deteriorating to the point where both her knees would lock. This made it difficult for the little girl to run and play with the other children as she kept falling over. Nor could she manage certain movements, such as squatting to go to the toilet.

To make matters worse, Gina's mother tells us that the neighbours openly made fun of her daughter, so Gina no longer wanted to play with the other children.

"When I saw that her condition was worsening, I took Gina to Kyangwali Health Centre. The health professionals examined her and told me she would need surgery. I had to go home and wait for a call from Hoima regional hospital for an appointment for the operation," says Gina's mother.

At last, Gina can go to school

At the end of September 2023, Gina's mother received a call from Hoima regional hospital telling her she could bring her daughter in for her operation. As the hospital is quite a distance from their home, an ambulance was sent to fetch her and the operation was carried out free of charge.

After a week in hospital, Gina was sent home to continue her medical treatment at the local health centre. In October 2023, she was referred to HI for sessions with a physical therapist. She was first given a walker to help her get around and as then measured for knee-ankle-foot orthoses. The little girl received her 3D-printed orthoses in December 2023.

To make sure that Gina is using her new orthoses correctly and that her walking is improving, HI's physical therapists now visit her once a month for follow-up sessions. They give her exercises to help her use her orthoses and strengthen her limbs.

Gina has now been able to start school near her home and goes with her brothers and sisters. She is no longer afraid of being teased by the neighbours about her knees and   plays happily with the other children in front of her house.

"My daughter has started nursery school because she can now walk easily with the help of her orthoses. I am grateful to HI for their support. The neighbours don't make fun of my daughter and me anymore," concludes Gina's mother.

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