To mark his birthday this year, Amref Health Africa CEO Dr Githinji Gitahi is donating US$3,300 to support one surgical mission to the Nyabondo Rehabilitation Centre in Kenya’s Nyanza region. Every year, Amref Health Africa sends surgical specialists to the centre to treat patients with burns, club feet, cleft lips and palates and children with disabilities. One visit costs US$3,300, but six visits are needed annually to meet the great need. To make his birthday a truly happy one, Dr Gitahi would like friends, colleagues, stakeholders and well-wishers to help him raise money for five more surgical outreaches to Nyabondo.
Happy Birthday to our CEO, Dr Gitahi!
About the Nyabondo Rehabilitation Centre
Nyabondo Rehabilitation Centre is a Catholic Mission Hospital located in Nyakach District in western Kenya. It is the busiest disability centre visited by the Amref Health Africa Specialist Outreach team, attending to referrals from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The Amref Health Africa Specialist Outreach team has supported the centre for more than 30 years, making at least six visits per year. The main specialists who visit the centre are reconstructive and orthopaedic surgeons to treat a variety of physical disabilities.
The centre has physiotherapy and occupational therapy departments that support the rehabilitation of children after surgery, including production of prosthetic limbs.
Mellen Kerubo's Story
Treating children with disabilities gives them a much greater chance at normal life.
Mellen is a member of staff at the Nyabondo Rehabilitation Centre. When she was three years old, she fell ill with malaria and was taken to Kisii Hospital for treatment. After she was discharged, her parents noticed that she was unable to walk but thought she would get better with time. “When I didn’t get better after a few months, even after being taken to various hospitals, they thought I had been bewitched. What they didn’t know was that I was not able to walk because I had not been immunised against polio.”
In desperation, Mellen’s parents sought the help of witch doctors, even going across the border to Tanzania, but her condition did not improve. In the end, they accepted their daughter’s condition and took her to the Nyabondo Rehabilitation Centre.
Here, doctors from Amref Health Africa operated on her. Before the surgery, Mellen’s legs faced backwards, making it extremely difficult for her to walk. She had to be carried around.
After recuperating from the surgery, Mellen was able to walk upright with the support crutches. When she was old enough, she joined Nyabondo Primary School and then went on to Ahero Girls Secondary School, after which she took secretarial training. She found employment in the very institution that had given her a new lease of life – the Nyabondo Rehabilitation Centre.
Now happily married with two children, Mellen is keen to see that others get the same help that she did. “I like helping other disabled people because although I am like them, I am self-reliant. Every opportunity I get, I encourage them not to give up on life.” She is grateful to Amref Health Africa and the Nyabondo Rehabilitation Centre for giving her the hope to live and the great future she has ahead. “I would like to encourage parents to take their children for polio vaccination to avoid disability.”