Imagine if your child died because of feeding difficulties from a condition they had. Imagine you could save their life & improve their well-being through learning simple techniques and by having support at home. Piloted in Jamaica, the MAITS project trained carers of disabled children. After training, serious case review frequencies fell to zero & children have been thriving. We hope to employ similar methods to train Community Health Workers & families of children with disabilities in Karachi.
1 billion people are living with a disability- 80% live in developing nations- 150 million of these are children. People with disabilities face exclusion in most areas of their lives & are "more than twice as likely to report finding health care providers' skills inadequate to meet their needs" (WHO). In Pakistan, Community Health Workers support families at home, but they do not have disability training- children with disabilities are at risk of preventable early death & living in discomfort.
The WHO states that disabling barriers can be overcome & advise governments to "improve staff education, training and recruitment". MAITS' solution proved effective in Jamaica; children were consistently referred for serious case reviews & after our training program, not one child died. We have adapted the scheme for Pakistan's Community Health Workers, supervised by qualified therapists, to support families of children with disabilities within their own homes & how to signpost to specialists.
The training provided is potentially lifesaving & can drastically improve the children's wellbeing, as well as supporting their families. The solution is sustainable because we are training people within the community, working with local charities, academic institutions & through local government rather than sending in external people. This ensures that the skills gained continue to benefit the local community on a long-term basis. Our resources are available freely to families & Health Workers.