Children's Community Based Rehab
Physiotherapist or Occ. Therapist
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Post requirements: Degree in PT or OT, preferably 2 years post qualification experience.
Preferably some cross cultural experience
Self funded, though some assistance possible if needed.
Commitment: Min. 3 months preferable
Working with a small team providing rehab to children and their families in Freetown and surrounding communities. You will be required to work independently as a qualified therapist, while a national would be there to help with translation into Krio. You will also teach them to work as your rehab assistant, with a view of them practising independently themselves in the future. We also have some SL staff working as Rehab Therapists, who will need continued support.
The team currently consists of a UK Occupational Therapist and 2 Sierra Leonean nationals. This programme is still fairly new (pioneered 2007) and the next year looks to be just as exciting and challenging as we continue to grow to be more sustainable while reaching more needy children and their families. Our referrals were coming from local partners, such as Mercy Ships, Family Homes Movement and SOS Children's Home for the Physically Challenged. However many more are coming just by us being in the communities and through word of mouth.
Treatment practices need to be applicable to local living environments and often involve working on dirt floors and in crowded spaces. Creativity with local resources is also key and we make postural equipment from our own designs and partnering with a local carpenter. Common conditions seen are Cerebral Palsy, Congenital Deformities, TB Spine, Erb's Palsy, Talipies, Polio, amputee's and many unexplained neuro, developmental and orthopaedic problems. We put major emphasis on training the families / carers to handle, treat, position and care for their child, as they will be the ones with them forever. Often working outside the boundaries of one's own profession, you will be need to be prepared to advise as best possible on subjects you may not have much experience in. Therefore a broad experience of any paediatric areas would be a useful attribute.
Working in people's home environments means we are in privileged positions to really get alongside theses families. Listening, informal counselling and praying with people commonly occurs. These families have very few other services to go to for help. Cultural beliefs lead to the children being thought of as demon possessed, and often just our presence in the community draws a crowd – an excellent opportunity to teach to many about the real causes of disability, the hope that can be found in these precious children and the love that God has for them and all of us.
We will help to find you accommodation on the Western side of Freetown, with other internationals, though constant power and water are not guaranteed! Life in Sierra Leone is a new adventure everyday, much flexibility and a light hearted character are essential. Work days are often long and busy, but stress can be reduced on the beautiful beaches at the weekend!
I look forward to hearing from you if you are at all interested.