Health Support Program

Simon (not his real name) was a 5-year-old boy in our Kanazi program.  In February 2021, we received a report from our field team that he had suffered from a severe burn in his hand which had been left untreated for a long time.  We took him first to a local hospital and then to our partner hospital in Kigali. He eventually fully recovered. As we were feeling happy about his recovery, we received another report on April 27th that he was hospitalized with malaria.  Malaria is easily curable, so our team helped Simon get the medical attention he needed at the local hospital. On May 1st, we received the unexpected and devastating news that he passed away.  No clear answer as to why. Apparently, he was taken off the oxygen supply and moved out of the intensive care unit when another person requiring urgent care came in. And, within a few hours, he passed away.  

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Iranzi is an 11-year-old boy living in Ntunga.  He was born with microcephaly which causes a baby's head to be small and not fully developed. Because of his condition, his overall development is impaired. He used to have over twenty seizures a day which prevented him from sleeping for more than an hour a day. Thankfully, the pediatrician at Nanuri Hospital was able to find an anti-seizure medicine that works for Iranzi. His quality of life is now significantly improved. At last, he is given an opportunity to share his true gentle and affectionate personality with everyone around him. 

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These are just a couple of examples of the sad and challenging reality in our work. Many children with disabilities have underlying health conditions (e.g. heart defects in children with down syndrome).  These children are also much more prone to accidents in and out of their homes. Unfortunately, due to poverty, ignorance, or other compounding factors, they often don't get the medical attention they need. Worse yet, as you see in Simon's case, even if you get to a hospital, the standard of care and expertise in rural hospitals are far from what we are used to.    

What is RTM doing about this? 

These children need to stay healthy for any educational and developmental support to be meaningful.  So, we have been working on developing a multi-angled health support program. 

  1. Annual health check-up at Nanuri Hospital

  2. Monthly home visits by teachers and other staff to evaluate the home environment

  3. Continuous health condition monitoring and monthly assessment report

  4. Provide hot meals every day to those that come to class

  5. Provide nutritional supplements in every class

  6. Ongoing first-aid training for all staff members

  7. Protocol for handling all health-related issues/incidents

  8. Hygiene and basic first-aid training for parents

  9. Financial support in case of emergency or more significant health concerns (e.g. surgery, hospitalization)