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Taking APT to Kenya.

Cath Barton, a Physiotherapist and Deb May an Occupational therapist have just returned from a successful training trip to Njoro in Kenya.

Njoro is an agricultural town 18km south west of Nakuru, it is situated on the western rim of the Rift Valley. We were working with The Potter’s House CBO to set up three new workshops and support an existing one to produce adapted seats and standing frames for children with disabilities. Training was provided to five therapists, six workshop staff and one Ortho-tech from five locations in Kenya, (Nakuru, Molo, Nyahururu, Maua and Nairobi).

The participants were keen to learn both the theory and the practical skills for making APT equipment. The training was multi-modal and comprised of power point presentations and discussions, as well as practical training. Therapists had the opportunity to learn to make APT devices so they could fully understand the construction process and how devices can be adapted with the addition of lateral supports, curved back supports, headrests, and foot rests, wedges to tilt devices, harnesses and pelvic straps.

Fourteen local children were assessed by us during the visit and in-depth discussions took place during their fitting appointments regarding the child’s presentation and requirements of the equipment. Six workshop trainees shared some of the key presentations but focussed on learning how to make boards, seats, standing frames and household objects. They also learned how to measure children so had a full understanding of what therapists were asking of them. Ten children were measured for equipment and now have a comfortable chair, standing frame or wheelchair insert. Four children are now able to attend a local school for the first time with support from The Potter’s House CBO.

This experience of being able to make such a difference to these families lives with this equipment made out of just cardboard, paper and flour-based paste was incredible, and overwhelming at times. It was delightful to see these children come up off the floor and be at eye level to communicate and join in with their families. We loved it and are keen to continue in our efforts to get APT workshops up and running by locals for local children with disabilities.

We are very grateful to the multi-agency international training support (MAITS) grant that helped fund the therapists and grants from both the Gibb’s Trust and the Welsh government’s Wales/Africa grant scheme in funding the setting up of the workshops and trainees.

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