On July 12, last, some 90 persons marched in Mabaruma, to celebrate Rehabilitation Week 2011.
The event celebrated under the theme “Making Rehab Services more visible in Region One” was coordinated by Regional Health Officer, Dr. Nigel Langhorne and Rehabilitation Assistant, Dexter Bourne. They were assisted by Peace Corps volunteer Ilana Stewart.
The event was organized to raise awareness about rehabilitation services available, highlight issues faced by Persons with Disabilities thereby giving the community an opportunity to address their needs, and celebrate these individuals in the Mabaruma sub-region.
“This event is the first of its kind in Region One,” said Bourne. “Our goal is not only to educate the community on the services provided by Mabaruma Regional Hospital, but to give people a better understanding of the different disabilities children and adults face and their right to services in this region and throughout the country.”
Thirty-five children and adults with disabilities from five communities, their families, hospital and education staff, regional officers, Peace Corps volunteers and community members participated in the march that culminated at the Mabaruma Recreational Park for a one-hour ceremony.
The event included an address from Mr. Bourne, musical performance by Peace Corps Volunteer, Nathaniel Stewart, and a finger-painting activity for the Persons with Disabilities. That painting is now being displayed at the Mabaruma Regional Hospital.
“I am really happy that my son and I were able to participate in this event and to see so many supportive parents,” said Edward Harris, White Water resident.
“I am especially happy that the hospital had physical examinations for all Person with Disabilities, since my son has never had one and is now 15-years old. It’s a real good thing.”
Following Tuesday’s event, the Mabaruma Regional Hospital hosted two days of screening exercise for Persons with Disabilities. The screening included an eye and ear test, dental cleanings and extractions, vaccinations, physical examination by the Medex and Rehabilitation Assessment.
Twenty-seven children and eight adults were screened.
“This is just the beginning; we are actually walking, working and learning together…This is progress,” said Dr. Langhorne.
“The regional health department will continue to learn about the prevalence of these disabilities throughout the region having trained more than ten Community Health Workers to conduct basic screenings at an early stage.
“Our success in dealing with these health issues will be determined by continued ventures such as this event throughout the region.”
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