Outgrowing a leg

Posted on 5th Sep by Simon Neal − Category: News

Each year parents and care-givers around the world face the inevitable issue of replacing the clothes and shoes their children have either outworn or outgrown. Without the age old ‘hand-me-down’ system this can be very expensive, wherever you’re from. Now consider the extra difficulty for families living in slums who struggle to afford food, let alone the luxuries of new clothes on a regular basis. Then imagine the difficulty faced when the young boy you look after outgrows his prosthetic leg!

Samuel loves taking "selfies" and is always full of life.

Samuel loves taking ‘selfies’ and is always full of life.

When he was just a toddler, Samuel stepped into a fire, causing severe burns to his left foot. The extent of his injuries resulted in him having to have his foot amputated. His Mama could only afford to use a small, ill equipped and cheap clinic, which did a poor job. This left his wound infected without sufficient treatment. Not knowing where to turn, his mama then took Samuel to his grandmothers house and ran away, leaving her own mother to take care of her little boy. So Jaja (grandma) Samuel was left to do the best she could by trying to clean and dress the wound despite having such limited resources and finance.

When we first met Samuel we offered our assistance to his Jaja. With our help she was then able to begin to get his wound properly treated for a number of months until the skin had healed sufficiently. After a couple of months he was even able to use his stump to walk on. However, we still wanted better for him. Having heard about a hospital on the other side of Kampala that specializes in providing prosthetic legs, and rehabilitation for children we took him for a consultation. Corsu offers free surgery for all Ugandan’s under 18 years old, which makes the whole progress far more affordable. The cost of consultation, medication, limbs and food usually prove to be more than an average Ugandan family can afford, but in this instance we were able to help Samuel to get his first prosthetic leg.

Over the course of a few months, Samuel’s wound continued to gradually heal, until finally it was able to support a prosthetic leg. So, the very happy day came when we were able to take him home with his new foot, and see him learn to walk all over again. He took to his new leg very quickly and it didn’t take long before was running around with his friends, playing and enjoying life as any three year old should.

However, this is not where our story ends, because as Samuel continued to grow, so did his leg, meaning that before long his prosthetic limb became tight and uncomfortable. As such he was no longer able to wear it and went back to getting around on his stump.

Jaja Samuel was able to move out of Kasubi slum, to a bigger, safer and nicer house, so we lost some contact with her, but after a few months we went to see her to discover that Samuel could no longer use his leg. Jaja did not want to ask for help, so Samuel was left to readjust to getting around on his stump. After seeing this, we arranged a day to take him back to hospital and had him measured for a new leg. It is a much simpler process the second time around and so Samuel was able to receive and adjust to his new leg quickly and is now back to being the same lively, happy and cheeky boy we know and love. His Jaja is doing an amazing job of raising him, as well as her own three children.

Samson with his new leg, stood outside his house with Jaja.

Samuel with his new leg, stood outside his house with Jaja.

Want to know more? Read about A Day with Practical Support.

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