Team Uganda

Clinic Day 2

Aug. 7, 2018

What happens when you give an occupational therapist and an engineering student some PVC pipe bunch of duct tape and an adult sized neck brace? It sounds like the start to a bad joke, but the answer is a seating system for a baby with poor trunk control.

Everyone has been hard at work this week, but this blog post will hone in on the role of the Therapy Team. We have two Occupational Therapists and two Physical Therapists on our team fearlessly treating whatever the provider team sends our way. The most common diagnosis has been back pain, but we’ve also seen knee, foot, shoulder and arm pain, wounds, stroke patients and children with developmental delays. Our fabulous drivers have set up a fire to heat water for making splints each day, so we’ve been able to custom mold orthotic devices for several patients.

Some of the more unique cases have involved adapting a wheelchair for a young girl, fitting a baby with a neck brace and fitting splints into a girl with contracture in both her legs. The case described in the first paragraph was so gratifying to work on. The baby was a ten month old that couldn’t sit up independently yet and still had a sunken fontanel (still had its ‘soft spot’) so is at increased risk for a brain injury. The mom has five other children and wanted a safe place to seat the baby. We designed a seating system that will allow the baby to move some without being able to fall over. It’s adjustable so as the baby’s balance improved, there can be more freedom for movement. I also taught the mom some exercises to increase trunk control and work on pre-crawling skills. The best part was seeing the mom’s reaction and how happy and grateful she was to have some more freedom to care for her other children and do more without constantly having to have the baby strapped to her back.

+ Alicia Mau, Occupational Therapist
South Carolina