Days in these mine-infested fields begin like any other, whether they will irreversibly alter someone’s life or not.
In the training room at EMERGENCY’s Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration Centre in Sulaymaniyah, Kayan (8) is sitting on the floor with his mother, doing what every other child his age would: playing. On the floor, alongside colourful plastic toys, lies his prosthesis.
“Kayan is trying to adapt his walking after technicians at the centre built his prosthesis,” explains Burhan, one of EMERGENCY’s physiotherapists. “The first time he arrived in Sulaymaniyah was more than two years ago, and he’s already outgrown two prostheses. This time, we had to increase the height of the aid by 1.25 cm in order to keep up with his rate of growth,” continues Shadman, coordinator of the orthotic technicians.
Following treatment and discharge from the centre, patients undergo periodic monitoring activities and check-ups as required according to their condition. Comprehensive follow-up programmes are essential for our patients: over time, prostheses can become worn out or require adjustment.
Kayan suffers from a genetic neurological disease. He’s here because, when he was born, his hypotrophic and deformed foot required amputation in order to enable him to walk normally.
“My child loves playing with technology and watching TV. However, there are times when I can see him closing in on himself because of his illness,” his mother tells us. “It’s not always easy to rehabilitate very young patients like Kayan,” adds Burhan, “but we try to set everything up like a game. Initially, the youngest are often scared or intimidated by things like our white coats, for example. The presence of their parents helps them feel more comfortable.”
After a few initial tears, Kayan slowly began to open up, smiling and becoming more confident around the team. He doesn’t hold back from running around and lying down on the carpeted floor, like all children do. It almost seems as if his prosthesis doesn’t exist. We’re happy to see that he is more relaxed and has begun to lose his initial fear.
Kayan will continue to return to the centre for follow-up consultations and we will be waiting for him. We might even see him return independently, as he becomes a young man.
We wish you a safe trip back home, Kayan!
The EMERGENCY Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration Centre in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, is funded by EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid – ECHO.