Physiotherapy and dedicated child-care at Kismayu Centre

Maryan celebrating her son Mohamed’s recovery following psychotherapy sessions provided by Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Kismayo

Early detection of health-related anomalies and prompt remedial action can have massive benefits in a child’s normal growth and development. This has been witnessed in the case of three-year-old Mohamed Bishar who is a registered patient at the Rehabilitation Centre operated by Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Kismayo town of Somalia.

“Baby Mohamed was born with low birth weight. I noticed that he was different from the other children. He had a very small body and his skin was very light. He could neither breastfeed, nor suck on water from a baby bottle,” says Maryan Ibrahim, Mohamed’s mother. Low birth weight is a term used to describe babies who are born weighing less than 2,500 grams.


Desperate parents seeking medical assistance

First, his parent took him to Kismayo General hospital where he was put on nutritional support. At the age of six months, he could not achieve his normal developmental milestones. He could not roll over, turn, sit or control his neck. His parents were advised to seek physiotherapy in Mogadishu capital.

Mohamed’s parents were worried.  Their financial situation was weak and they could not afford to take their son to Mogadishu for medical support. Mohamed’s father is a part-time driver and Maryan is a full-time housewife. A neighbor advised them to take the child to a traditional herbalist which they did out of desperation. The traditional doctor told them that they should give the child some medicines twice a day. They were also given some liquid herbs and were advised to use them for bathing the baby. This did not work. Mohamed ended up having allergic reactions and had experienced pain all over his body.

“Our marriage was also on the rocks. My husband blamed me for the child’s condition. We separated in 2020 during the COVID-19 Pandemic. He took custody of the other six children and left me with Mohamed. I relocated together with Mohamed to my uncle’s house because I did not have a roof over my head and required family support,” says Maryan.

Intervention by LWF brings positive changes

One day, she was visited by one of the LWF community mobilizers after being identified during community mobilization and requested for more information before setting an appointment for her at the LWF Educational Assessment and Resource Centre (EARC) in Kismayo. Mohamed’s mother was very grateful and took the opportunity immediately after hearing about the good news that she would be supported with all the rehabilitation services for free.

On 11th October 2020, Mohamed was brought to the resource centre and was received by the LWF Technical Staff. Mohamed was technically assessed and after a comprehensive examination, he was registered and was given an appointment for physiotherapy sessions three times a week. Mohamed was also enrolled in the playgroup therapy program once a week. Mohamed’s mother was provided with psychosocial and counselling services and was advised on hygiene and nutritional support.

Hope as Mohamed’s condition begins to improve

Mohamed started improving day by day. He could tolerate the exercise programs and his muscle bulk and muscle tone started improving. His digestion system was also improving. “Following three weeks of continuous physiotherapy sessions, Mohamed is able to sit on his own, roll over and hold objects firmly with both hands. His weight has also started improving,” notes LWF Psychotherapy Officer Shukri Abdi in Kismayo.

Mohamed was able to achieve most of the developmental milestones and his overall health was improving. At the age of two years and three months, he was able to crawl fully on his own and would attempt to stand up on his own. Maryam has been guided on how to perform basic physiotherapy for home-care programs such as exercises, gentle massage, play therapy, enhancing child growth, improving on exercise tolerance, feeding program, sleep cycle management and attaining functional activities.

Mohamed’s mother has been supported on logistics and transport to and from the resource centre by LWF as they lived far from the centre and is unable to cater for transport on her own. Mohamed is also being supported by LWF on feeding program on monthly basis including the dry ration program for the EARC and students with special needs. In addition, Mohamed’s siblings are also being supported with their education as they have been referred to the LWF office for assessment and school placement. “They have received school uniform, exercise books, pencils and rubbers as they have been placed in Horyeel Primary School in Calanley area, one of the schools supported by LWF Somalia”, says Shukri of LWF.

With support from Radio Aid, LWF under the Kenya-Somalia program reaches out to people of concern in Somalia and provides humanitarian assistance within its mission to address the causes and effects of human suffering and poverty.  

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