Four-year-old Mohamed* is the first child with Cerebral Palsy that International Medical Corps worked with in the Libyan city of Sirte. With bright, intelligent eyes, Mohamed was always smiling and laughing. He came to an International Medical Corps-supported rehabilitation center carried by his doting father, but was unable to sit independently and had very little controlled movement in his arms and legs. His parents were doing all they could for him—traveling to the center regularly from his home an hour outside of the desert city—but they needed professional help.
As Libya has moved from conflict to rebuilding, International Medical Corps has transitioned from emergency activities to longer-term programming, such as building the capacity of Libya's rehabilitation sector by training physiotherapists.
For Mohamed, we worked with physiotherapists to identify what he was and wasn’t able to do, and to plan how we could realistically help him most. After realizing that physiotherapy in isolation wasn’t going to be enough for him, we made arrangements with Mohamed's family to visit him at home. There, we showed Mohamed’s family how to stand him using a simple piece of wood and cloth, and how to stretch his limbs comfortably. We built a wedge from pillows so that he could use his hands to play freely and develop neck strength, and showed his family how to adapt a chair so he could sit with his hands free and start to feed himself. Mohamed’s smile and laughter only grew as he learned to grab his toys with both hands.
It’s thanks to your generosity that we were able to help Mohamed—and there are many other children like him that we want to reach. With your support, International Medical Corps has plans for more specialized training with physiotherapists across Libya. We will soon be introducing outreach teams to identify and work with more children in their communities.
So thank you for helping make Mohamed smile!
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of patient under the age of 18.