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The Amani Mobile Clinic: Ensuring at the local level Care and Basic Rights for Children with Intellectual Disabilities, Tanzania
Amani Centre for people with Intellectual disabilities was established in 1992; its mission is to ensure that the rights of children with disability in and outside Tanzania are respected. Our vision is to remove negative attitudes to people with disabilities.
The project is located in Morogoro Region (Tanzania) in rural villages. Our target groups are children, youth with disabilities and their parents or families/ guardians.
The beneficiaries are all with disabilities from O years old to adult age. During the project we have I identified more than 5,000 disabled in Morogoro region while the national sensor of 2002 indicated Morogoro has 30,000 thousand people with disability.
Our approach is Community Based Rehabilitation, thus we reach all types of disabilities, but our priority is those with intellectual disabilities.
Mama Bakhita with Emmanuel before attending the mobile clinic.
2. Purpose & Objectives
By conducting mobile clinics, we aim to reach many people with disabilities at their environment instead of them to come to the office.
We want to solve their medical problems and improving their disabilities as many are referred to consultant hospitals for rehabilitation e.g. surgery and treatment of their eye problems.
Their expectation is to get miracles, e.g. physical disability that they can change to normal, low vision to see intellectual disabled… Their families do expect them to be normal with intelligence. Our final objective is to bring public awareness as much as possible and change negative attitude towards people with disabilities.
Some families, when their children with disabilities are registered with the project, feel then as the child “belongs” to the project. They will address the community worker “come in your child is sick, is better you have come”.
3. Project monitoring
The mobile clinic was launched in 1997; it is a process and an on- going exercise whenever there is availability of funds.
We involved the Regional and District Authorities village government officials; we have scheduled zone areas for our operation. Then we launch the invitation of people with disabilities at the selected venue.
A team of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, social workers and community workers visit the particular villages. After the clinical examinations, people are either treated on the different problems either treated on the spot those with eye problems, but mostly are referred to national hospitals.
Many have been operated and some receives physiotherapy exercises.
Mama Bakhita giving a short seminar before the doctors arrive.
4. Project resources
Team: The work is handled in a disciplinary team as mentioned above: doctors, nurses, social workers and volunteers. A seminar was conducted before mobile clinic was introduced, and it continues now on.
Funding: Friends of good will has supported the project financially.
Facilities: – Hiring transport
– Administrative procedures are to involve the regional District and village authorities.
Note that providing services to people with disabilities in Tanzania is a new phenomenon- it will take time for the society to understand the rights of people with disabilities.
The main beneficiaries are the target groups who have received rehabilitation services, a few who have been built houses by individual sympathies (e.g. a family with 5 disabled children in Makuyu Village).
The identified target group has helped some of the society members to change negative attitude. The impact is the awareness spread to the villages of the clients.
Parents in procession before starting a training for parents.
Other changes are still desirable, such as public awareness and training of parents to be fully aware of the care of their children with disabilities, from parent groups for speeding public awareness and for the parents groups to meet government policy makers to meet the needs of their children with disabilities.
The project had also its difficulties: without own transport, it happened our team have not been able to reach the target group on time due to high cost of hiring a car. There were some complaints from parents who expected their children to become normal. And, the association financial resources are meagre.
As project owner, I have learned to be patient to make quick decisions to support the poor of the poorest.
For every new mobile clinic we conduct, we try to have it adjusted considering the last mobile clinic failures.
Mama Josephine Bakhita
Principal Social worker
Founder of Amani Centre
Advisor of Amani Centre &
Erick Memorial Foundation (EMFERD)
P.O. Box 2016
Mobile: +255 754 862 267 / +255 655 862 267 / +255 788 479 252
Website www.emferd.com / www. amani center morogoro.webly.com