Visiting students and faculty members from the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in the United States of America and some members of the Nursing Students Association and lecturers of UCC have embarked on an outreach programme to the St. Elizabeth Rehabilitation Centre of the Padre Pio Rehabilitation Centre at Ahotokrom near Ankaful in the Komenda Edina Eguafo Abrem Municipal Assembly.
The programme forms part of the 6th Session of the annual GVSU-UCC Community Public Health Nursing Experience in collaboration with the UCC Nursing Students Association (NUSA).
Since its inception, according to two of the coordinators Dr. (Mrs.) Nancy Ebu Enyan and Ms. Patience Doe, said the outreach was held through the conduct of health screening in some communities in the Central Region and beyond They said this year, the organisers decided to focus on children with special needs and therefore, chose to reach out to the children of the St. Elizabeth Rehabilitation Centre at Ahotokrom.
The Coordinators indicated that, the students would conduct head-to-toe examination, find their immunization status and manage minor injuries on the children. They would also provide health education to the caregivers at the centre on how to manage children.
Three faculty members and 22 students from GVSU are participating in this year’s programme.
Briefing the visitors on operations of the Centre, the Director, Dr. Mark Mantey, said the centre was initially set up to take care of cured lepers but with the decline in the incidence of the disease, they were turning their attention to children living with some forms of challenges like down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other forms of physical challenges.
Dr. Mantey who described these challenges as “New Leprosy” said one of their main challenge was identifying the potentials of these children and also integrating them into the mainstream society when they come of age. “Unearthing or determining individual talents among the children is a daunting task for us”, he added. He said the children are trained in beads and doormat making to provide them with some vocational skills to help them earn a living after exiting the centre.
Dr. Mantey said the centre collaborated with parents, community and other stakeholders to ensure the complete provision of the total care of the children. The team screened some of the parents, caregivers and children for some ailments.
Dr. Nancy Schoof and Dr. Susan Strouse who are faculty members accompanying the GVSU students presented some personal hygiene items to the children and were received by Dr. Mantey.