The Physiotherapy Clinic’s Charity Efforts Print E-mail
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Thursday, 15 February 2018 00:00

Children disability in Belize seems to be an almost-taboo topic even though much of the population of children has to live with that reality every day. The 2012 MICS report shows that “more than a third (36.4%) of children 2 to 9 years was at risk for one or more disabilities.” This is an increased ten percent since 2006, and is incomprehensive data as it excludes other children between 0 and 18 years old.

As defined by The Situational Analysis of Children with Disabilities, disabilities are the “results from the interaction between persons with impairments … and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”. In other words, disabled persons have to suffer through unfair prejudices, biases, and other discriminatory behaviors. As recently as June 2013, the concept of disability has evolved to accommodate the complex and dynamic nature of the issue, highlighting the impacts on the disabled as well as the family.

Besides prejudices and other discriminatory behaviors, these children have to suffer through the physical downfalls of living with disabilities, deformities, and other defects. In Belize, there are only a select few places where these children and their families can turn to for viable and affordable healthcare. General healthcare in Belize can be costly and Dr. Juan Callado at the Physiotherapy Clinic in Belmopan takes that fact into consideration.

The clinic is the first professional of its kind in Belize and functions with just two physical therapists and an assistant. Given its limited size and resources, clinic personnel travel between Belmopan City and San Ignacio every other day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays when the clinic is in operation in San Ignacio, most of the services rendered are voluntary to disabled children. Dr. Callado and his team have seen the need to help and are striving to be as effective as possible while maintaining the little resources that they do have.

During their voluntary sessions, the physical therapists typically see about 17 children ranging from 9-months-old to 15-years-old. These children are welcome to receive any range of services such as a paying customer would receive but given that they are usually permanently disabled, unlike someone that received an injury, the therapy session varies per child. Some of the disabilities treated are cerebral palsy and other bone and motor impairments. The services, which are generally done in the afternoon, are completely free of cost and open to any economic bracket.

Persons that can afford to donate a little are welcome to do so but it is not mandatory. While the clinic has managed to sustain this initiative for just over a year, the clinic’s resources are depleting as the clinic sees little to no donations and the voluntary efforts saw one large sponsorship at its advent but none since then. The clinic is in need of help to carry out its voluntary efforts and pleads with anyone who is able to donate. Disability is real, and real children in Belize with disabilities suffer.