Delayed Milestones also called Developmental Delay refers to a condition where a child develops less either mentally or physically than is normal for its age. Such kind of delay does suggest the possibility of a problem, especially when combined with other risk factors and anatomic or radiological signs. However, with interventions, certain milestones are reached at predictable times. Parents, guardians and healthcare providers will often look out for signs of Cerebral Palsy to try and identify the cause for the delay. For low income earners, this is a challenging situation since treatment for such a condition requires continuous therapy sessions which are more often than not charged hourly. 35 year old Jackline Webo is a mother of two, with her youngest daughter suffering from Delayed Milestones.
“When my daughter Joy was 7 months old, I noticed that there are things a seven month should do, but she could not. At first, I thought it was due to disinterest or I was imagining things but later, I decided to seek professional help. I had a friend who used to take her child for therapy at Acref in BabaDogo, where therapists from World Friends/Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital offer free therapy sessions to slum residents. Her child’s condition had improved greatly since she joined Acref. After an assessment, Ruaraka Uhai Neema therapists told me that my child was suffering from Delayed Milestones. We began attending therapy sessions soon after. This was a life changing decision since my daughters’ physical abilities improved. I was further advised that I needed to be patient since it was a gradual process. Every Wednesday morning, I tirelessly took her to Acref for therapy. Gradually, her feet became stronger and her motor abilities improved. She began walking as she supported herself with furniture around the house. My elder daughter also assisted me in taking her to Acref during her school holidays. In April 2015, she was taking care of Joy when she noticed something unusual;-Joy could walk without any support! She was in disbelief and called me but I too could not believe. That evening when I got home from work, we tried to get her to walk but she could not. We thought it was just an imagination. However, after few days, she stood and walked without any support. Neighbors took a short video using their phones and showed it to me that evening. My daughter could finally walk after a long wait! It was one of the happiest moments of my life and I am thankful to God and to Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital therapists who for more than a year were patient with my daughter. They never gave up on her ability to walk one day. These sessions have really benefited so many children here in the slums!” said Jackline, as she encouraged other mothers not to give up on their children. She also brought a cake, as a token of appreciation for the help and encouragement she has received.
“I do not have to carry her on my back everywhere I go and people will stop asking why such a big girl cannot play and walk around like any child of her age.” She concluded happily.
It is the joy of any mother to watch her children grow up healthy and strong. We can only imagine the joy and happiness that Joy brought her mum with her first step. She can now go to a regular school when she’s of age and even pursue a career not based by a limitation on her motor abilities.
Through World Friends Community Based Rehabilitation Program (CBRP), we aim to reduce child disability and improve the status of disabled children in Nairobi slums. This is through therapy sessions and/or orthopedic surgeries conducted bi-annually at Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital.