“I always longed for the day I could skip rope and run around playing like the other girls in my neighborhood. After I had my first surgery about 6 years ago, the pain was too much yet after healing my wounds, I still could not walk well. I remember how my mum would carry me on her back as I went for therapy sessions. But still, my left leg did not get better. Despite my condition, my family was very supportive and my siblings always involved me in games that did not involve running or skipping. In 2015, my mother took me to a hospital called Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital and that is where my recovery began.” 11 year old Cynthia Waithera.
Cynthia is among thousands of orthopedic patients who have benefitted from Dr. Antonio Melloto’s bi-annual mission. Judy Waithera, Cynthia’s mother narrates her 10 year journey of seeking a cure for her daughter’s condition. “My daughter was born in good health. However, when she was 18 months old, I noticed that there was a problem with her walking ability. Her left leg was not in good condition and I decided to seek medical attention. I was advised to take her for therapy twice per week which I did. However, after months of therapy sessions, there was no improvement. I decided to try and change hospitals with the hope that she would get better. The cost was also too much for me since I had to pay 500 Ksh per session which was hard to afford. In the second facility, the fee per session was 200 Ksh and therapist after months of therapy recommended that I should try seeking surgical treatment. I borrowed a loan from a local Sacco and took my daughter for surgery when she was 5 years old. We had high hopes that this was the end of many years of suffering. Unfortunately, this was not the end result. All that resulted from that surgery was endless pain, scars and my daughter’s leg got worse than it was before. This was the toughest days of our lives since I had no money to even take my daughter for therapy sessions. It was until 2015 when we got recommendation from the Association of the Physically Disabled of Kenya (A.P.D.K ) to bring Cynthia to Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital. Luckily, we came during Dr. Antonio’s mission and after subsequent tests; my daughter was booked for surgery. In May 2015, she underwent a successful surgery. Her leg is getting better and she can now walk well, skip rope and play with other children. In fact, therapists at Neema say that by next year, she can walk without special orthopedic foot wear.
All I can say is a big thank you to the doctors and therapists who have been part of my daughters’ recovery. I can only pray for them to continue helping children with orthopedic conditions, just as they did to my daughter.”
30 year old Judy is a mother of 3 and is a casual laborer living in Eastleigh. It is equally a challenge for low income earners to afford quality healthcare especially surgical treatment. Thanks to Dr. Antonio and Dr. Lino who conduct free surgeries twice each year at Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital, patients with little or no income can also access quality orthopedic healthcare.