The Matumani School is a boarding school in Tanzania which is run by The Salvation Army. It is the largest school in the country that serves children with disabilities and albinism. The school was founded in 1969 and has been a safe place to learn for the most vulnerable people in the country for almost 50 years. Of the 210 students at Matumani, most have significant limitations such as missing or distorted limbs. People with a disability in Tanzania are often treated as scum. From a Tanzanian perspective, these people do not have the capacity to contribute to society.
Many of the children at Matumani have a limited mobility due to their disability. These students can be helped through surgical treatment however, many come from very poor families who are unable to finance these treatments. That is why The Salvation Army started a project through which 13 students at the school will get a surgical treatment. The treatment will help them add quality to their life, makes going to school easier and gives them a chance to contribute to society.
Update: July 2019
The Salvation Army Matumani School is a primary boarding school in Tanzania that serves about 210 children with disabilities and albinism. Many of the children at Matumani have a limited mobility due to their disability. These students can be helped through surgical treatment, however, many come from very poor families who are unable to finance these treatments. That is why The Salvation Army started a project by which to help 13 students at the school with a surgical treatment. Their progress is described below.
PLEASE NOTE: THE NAMES OF THESE CHILDREN HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT THEIR PRIVACY
Markeshia was born with congenital malformation of both lower limbs. Through surgery, both her lower limbs were amputated and she was given artificial limbs. Markeshia had been using a wheelchair since birth, but through this project she was given prostheses for her legs.
Zola developed an illness when she was younger which resulted to deformities of both upper and lower limbs. Through the surgery program she was operated to correct both lower limbs, left and right legs, and given bilateral posterior shells. Before she could not walk upright and stable, but with the operation her posture was corrected and she can now walk upright.
Dashonte was born with congenital malformation of his right leg resulting in the underdevelopment of his right lower bones and the amputation of his lower leg. Before this program he used to walk with bilateral crutches, but through surgery, he was given a knee disarticulation prosthesis for his leg. He can now walk without crutches.
About two years ago, Dantrell was injured by electricity due to bodily contact with high voltage transmission lines which resulted in the loss of both left leg and left hand. He was operated to fix the stumps of both upper and lower limbs. Through the surgery program he was given a trans-tibia prosthesis of his left leg and he can now walk without any walking aid.
Between age two and three, Akeely suffered from an illness which resulted in partial paralysis and loss of power of both lower limbs. Before this program she was using a wheelchair for mobility. After investigation, the doctors decided that she should go through minor knee stretching procedures while doing walking exercise with a walking frame. After a series of stretching and walking exercises for four weeks, she was prescribed with bilateral ortho-prostheses, the equipment which helps to maintain range of motion for the corrected deformities.
Jerquis was injured when he was seven years old which resulted in the contracture of his right knee. He was operated to correct the deformity of his right knee. Currently, he is still in post-operative treatment, attending physiotherapy and orthopaedic clinics.
Terrel was born with congenital malformation of both right upper and lower limbs and on his left-hand fingers and left lower limb. He had been using a wheelchair since birth. Through the surgery project he was given a disarticulation prosthesis on his right foot to help him stand and walk. After recovery of the knee surgical wounds, he will get a second operation on his left foot in order to correct deformities and help him to stand normally with his left leg in assistance with an artificial leg on the right side. The goal is to help him be independent in mobility walking with minimum support of crutches.
Nemiah developed some illness during childhood which resulted in the partial paralysis of one side of his body. He was placed on serial casting for two months for tissue stretching of the right foot and he got an ankle-foot orthotic to maintain the joint range of motion. He is on the waiting list for tendon release surgery and will be operated between July and August 2019.
Neville was born with cerebral palsy, which resulted in loss of muscle power of both lower and upper limbs. He had been using a wheelchair for about 14 years before coming to the program. He received wedging casting for 8 weeks to stretch the knee tendons and prepare him for surgery. He is currently on the waiting list and will be operated between August and September 2019.
Aston was born with spastic cerebral palsy, which affected both upper and lower limbs. He had never walked in 15 years and was using a wheelchair for mobility. After initial investigations he was placed on serial wedging casting for muscles and tendons stretching. After twelve weeks of serial casting the doctor got him to start standing and walking.
Juma developed a neuromuscular problem in his early childhood which resulted in the paralysis of both left and right lower limbs and his left upper limb. Before coming to the program, he was using a wheelchair for about 14 years. After initial investigations, he was placed on serial wedging casting for two months and the doctors prescribed him for special orthopaedic equipment in order to help him start walking before surgery. He is on the waiting list for surgery in the proposed time between October and November 2019.
Jahkay was born with a congenital malformation of bones which affected the head, left upper limb and both lower limbs resulting in the amputation of his right leg. He had been using a wheelchair for mobility since birth. At Matuimani he was placed on serial casting for six weeks to stretch the muscles of the left knee and the posterior shell for the left leg. He was also prescribed a trans-tibial prosthesis which will be provided after reviewing the stump followed by walking exercises.
Naleisha is a seven-year-old girl who was born with cerebral palsy, which affected both upper and lower limbs. Before this program she had been using a wheelchair for mobility. The doctors proposed that she should start with walking exercises and she was given bilateral crutches. She is still on the list for the surgery on her right foot during the proposed time between October and November 2019.
Izak is a 7-year-old boy who developed a neuromuscular illness during childhood which resulted in weakness of the lower limbs and contractors of both knees. He was prescribed with manual before going for surgery between September and October 2019.
Jori is a 10-year-old girl who was born with congenital malformation of the spine. This has caused double incontinence and deformity of both lower limbs. After an initial investigation by the doctor, the total spine was found to have severe spine scoliosis needing immediate correction, but due to her young age and the fact that she has not reached maximum growth, an alternative method of deformity correction was prescribed. This involves the use of a spine cosset and bilateral ortho-prostheses which will help to correct the deformities gradually until the expected age for surgery is attained.
Between the age of three and four, Violet sustained a burn injury which resulted to contracture of both knees. After initial investigations by the orthopaedic specialist, she was referred to the plastic surgery specialist. She was supposed to get surgery in April, but was rescheduled till October 2019.