Several months after the launching of the project for the medico-surgical care of refugee children (Syrian, Palestinian...) and vulnerable Lebanese children living with congenital orthopaedic malformations in Lebanon, the teams of the hospitals of the Sacred Heart of Beirut and Shtoura in the Bekaa valley and our partner URDA have started to assess what has been achieved. Follow-up consultations are regularly organised in neighbouring health centres across the country.
Zeina, 6 years old, developed a congenital hip dislocation because she was not detected before she could walk. She and her family fled war in Syria and could not afford such a costly surgery. The family learned about the programme through the primary health centres of URDA in the Bekaa valley and the little girl was operated on in optimum conditions of hospitalisation.
Nahla, 8 years old, has always needed help to eat her meals. After surgery and several physiotherapy sessions, she is starting to use her arm and can alone put the spoon in her mouth. “When I don't have any homework, I do my exercise not 100 but 200 times” she proudly told Dr Hassan Nadji, the surgeon of the Sacred Heart hospital, and she is excited to be able to perform more movements.
All the children operated on will not be able to walk normally or run as fast as they would like too. Some of them have received late treatment when La Chaîne de l’Espoir and URDA launched this project in December 2016 because there is no other structure offering this type of intervention to the most vulnerable ones. However, the teams note the improvements, small and big, brought by the surgeries in the daily life of these children. Improvements are not only in terms of motor skills, they also relate to the way the other children look at them, can play with them, or the possibility for them to go to school.
Moreover, it seems vital to develop screening, detection and systematic treatment from birth of congenital orthopaedic malformations in Lebanon. During the awareness campaigns launched by URDA, a 6-month old baby was diagnosed with congenital hip dislocation. The dislocation was successfully treated with the use of a Pavlik harness and regular follow-up by the referring orthopaedist, thereby avoiding a heavy and painful surgery for the child.
We dedicate this article and every of our actions in Lebanon to the memory of Dr Roger Jawish for his invaluable involvement in this project. This project is financed by the Crisis and Support Centre and developed in partnership with URDA.