Disability Figures

A quite remarkable, but disturbing, piece of research work has been done by the Emmanuel church, the fellowship which HHI was active in founding and supporting in Zambia.

Having realised that there must be a terrible number of sick and needy people out in the bush, the church organised a survey, and sent workers out several kilometres in one direction to see what need they could find.

They came up with a number of disabled children which staggered them and shocked us. And, although we shouldn't be surprised at this, they reported also on the number of these poor children who have either received just superficial health care or, appallingly, have received no treatment at all - never, in their young lives, been seen by a doctor.

The director was presented with a very sorry list of cases when he was there recently - several children with crippled and deformed legs, including one with his feet upside down. Several others with crippled limbs, two dumb, one deaf and dumb, one blind.

"A typical example is Thomas." reports the director. "He's ten years old, and he has a terribly bad leg as the result of a football accident - he has no money to pay for hospital, so the leg goes untreated. And the appalling thing is, of course, that the leg is still growing. When I was at the Emmanuel church recently, Thomas came all the way in to see me, walking four kilometres, with the help of a crutch. When he arrived, we realised that he had malaria as well."

One interesting development, we hear, is that a company in Lusaka has been developing wheelchairs especially for use in rural areas. Wheelchairs are a luxury in some parts of Zambia, and one of the new ones has already been purchased through a donation by one of our supporters who visited the area in July.