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Cash plea for child victims.

Byline: ANIQA HAIDER

A BAHRAIN centre, which treats children with severe disabilities, is seeking donations to treat an Iraqi boy suffering from viral encephalitis (brain inflammation), as well as sick Palestinian children from Gaza.

Steps Rehabilitation Centre was set-up by the Social Development Ministry and Economic Developmental Board (EDB) last year to provide "exceptional care to exceptional children".

The centre is now hoping sponsors will come forward in support of six-year-old Ali Basin Kader after being approached by his parents in Baghdad.

It is also in the process of identifying four children in Gaza who can benefit from its facilities.

"At the moment our centre can accommodate at least four children from Palestine," said centre director Leonardo de Oliveira.

"But the problem is that we can't afford their expenses. We are in touch with societies in Bahrain and Gaza to find such children, who are in desperate need for treatment for brain injuries and cerebral palsy among other conditions.

"Bahrain's Women for Al Quds president Naela Warii has already left for Gaza and she is helping us find such children.

"We have also received some e-mails from parents, who want us to treat their sick children.

"So we are hoping that donors can support us to help these children."

Meanwhile, the centre is hoping to airlift Ali from Iraq as soon as possible after he fell ill two years ago.

His condition has deteriorated to such an extent that he suffers seizures in his feet and hand muscles, as well as difficulty in speaking.

Ali's parents can't afford to pay for his treatment, which costs BD2,000 per month in addition to living expenses.

"Ali's father, Basin Kader, has been writing to us for help since April last year, although we were not officially open at that time," said Mr De Oliveira.

"He sent us several e-mails and asked if we could help him and explained Ali's condition to us.

"He said Ali was able to talk in the first year of the disease, but unable to walk and suffered from some convulsions in his toes and fingers. In the second year, his condition deteriorated.

"Our treatment involves intensive therapy to jump-start developmental skills such as sitting, crawling, standing, reaching, grasping, head control and walking.

"Treatment also includes putting children in a special suit, which gives them greater stability and stimulates the central nervous system and movement.

"It also involves piece of equipment called the Spider, which uses bungee chords to create movement otherwise not possible for the patient."

Mr Oliveira said Ali required treatment for anywhere between three and six months, meaning the bill could reach BD12,000 plus other living costs - particularly since he should be accompanied by at least one of his parents.

"Once we get a sponsor for his treatment, then we can perhaps request any airline to provide air-tickets free of cost," he added.

The centre is a branch of the US-based Therapies 4 Kids and deals with various neuro-muscular disabilities including autism, cerebral palsy (CP), stroke, epilepsy, Down syndrome, hydrocephalus, spinal cord polio, spina bifida and many others.

The centre offers intensive rehabilitation using the suit-therapy method and universal exercise machines.

For more information about the programmes or to donate money contact Mr Oliveira at the centre on 17246256, fax 17246088, e-mail leo@stepsrehab.net or visit the website at www.stepsrehab.net.

Copyright 2008 Gulf Daily News

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Jan 18, 2009
Words:572
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