Yen Nhi is a 9-year-old girl born to a family in Binh Phuoc that pledged by disabilities. Her father, grandfather and uncle are living with disabilities. For many years, Nhi kept falling down and get injured when walking without knowing why. The local hospital and family thought she is a victim of malnutrition. Nhi’s situation has become a burden to the poor family. She relies mainly on the grandfather and the uncle, both have difficulties themselves, as the father works away from home.
In April 2016, Nhi went through a clinical assessment by a VNAH’s team of national and international rehabilitation professionals. Only then the family learnt that Nhi has a scoliosis that affects her standing, walking and leg’s strength. The therapists informed that if Nhi is not intervened correctly and timely, she would get worse and harder to rehabilitate.
Right after that, our therapists started an intensive treatment program for Nhi, which includes therapies at hospital and at home, with a focus on correcting and straightening the spine and improving the strength of the lower limbs. Our bio-medical engineers visited Nhi’s home, designed and made a table that helps her in sitting for meal and for school’s home-works. Her grandfather also helped with the treatment. He printed out and posted on the board pictures of therapy/exercise so Nhi can follow and practice under his supervision. Our therapists and local health providers conducted regular follow ups at home to provide therapy and evaluation of Nhi’s progress.
The support gains result after a five-month: Nhi has begun to walk firmer, with less time of falling. She can even ride a bicycle, which she dared not do before, but now has become a favorite. Everyone in the family is happy.
The grandfather, her main caregiver, told us “it is a big relief” for them to see Nhi is getting better, not worse as they thought in the past. “she can continue school”, he added.
This is one of the many positive stories of the DIRECT project- which is a USAID funded project implemented by VNAH and local partners - has a goal to provide rehabilitation services to 4,000 beneficiaries, and to build up rehabilitation service capacity in Tay Ninh and Binh Phuoc, including setting up rehabilitation units and training for 5,400 service providers, in a five year period, from 2016 to 2020.