Christine Paska is a young girl, who was five years old when we met her, from Nyantonzi village. She was one of our first patients from our first medical camps. She could not walk or talk, and she spent much of her day crying out in pain. We learned that she was born with spina bifida. Complications during surgery for the condition when she was just an infant left her incontinent and unable to walk. She developed devastating wounds on her backside as she could only move by pulling herself across the ground.
First her mother, then her father, abandoned Christine because they were unable to cope with the difficulties of meeting her daily needs. She was taken in by her 54-year-old grandmother, Elizabeth, who provided her with what care she could. But Christine was socially and emotionally isolated, and physically deteriorating. As a first step, we enlisted the help of the District Hospital to do a comprehensive assessment of Christine. They created a program of treatment for her that included:
- Multiple surgeries and treatments
- Extended hospitalization
- Physical rehabilitation and speech therapy
- Medical equipment including a wheel chair and other supplies
- Post-surgery follow up visits
- Home care
Christine was taken to CORSU, a hospital in the capital city, Kampala, that specializes in rehabilitation for conditions like Christine’s. After four months of intensive rehabilitation at the hospital, they determined that she needed to come back every couple months to be checked up on and to be given some further rehabilitation to help her with her movement and her speech. Since her first visit and all the others since, Christine has learned to communicate using sign language, received some education, and the wounds on her backside have healed completely thanks to the doctors at the hospital and her grandmothers constant care at home.
Within months, Christine’s condition improved dramatically. She is bright, happy child, who can hear, is learning to communicate through sign language, gaining independence with a wheel chair of her own, and even starting to use a walker. She still has a long way to go physically. But she has already transformed from a child who wept constantly due to chronic pain, into a girl who always has a smile on her face.
During our fall trip in November 2015, we found out that Christine wasn’t being well fed and that some of her wounds were coming back and getting infected. We spent some time while we were there in the fall looking for boarding schools for children like Christine, where she could get an education as well as get the proper medical attention that she needs. The school that we were interested in wasn’t able accept her at the time, so we enlisted the help of one of our VHT’s, Juliet Atugonza. For the time being, Juliet is taking care of Christine regularly, at least 6 days a week, to make healthy meals for her, clean any wounds, and take care of any other medical issues that she may be having, in order to keep her condition from getting any worse. It has been working very well. During the most recent trip in July 2016, when Jolly saw Christine, she was much healthier than she was in the fall. She was no longer malnourished and her wounds were nearly all healed.
Sadly, though, Christine is currently in the middle of a difficult situation. Her family no longer wants to take care of her as she has become too much of a burden for them. They are refusing to let her stay and she has nowhere to go. We have begged them to continue caring for her until we can find a safe place for her to go. We are now in a rush to raise money for the sweetest little girl who has been a bright light with GLO since she became one of our first since we first met her in 2014. Our goal is to raise $2,000 for Christine so that once we find her a school; we will be able to get her in immediately with no restrictions because of money.
If you have been following GLO from the beginning, you know that Christine has always been a success story. She improved so much once she was given the care she desperately needed through GLO's interventions. Without the care she has been recieving, she more than likely would have died from her condition. We are asking again for help for this wonderful little girl. Any amount you can donate to help us get her into a stable and safe living situation, where she will also be getting the education and constant medical attention that she needs, will be so beneficial for her. Thank you from Christine and all of us at GLO for your support!
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