This new programme, devised, funded and overseen by Friends of BCH (UK), is run by a children’s physiotherapist who works in a UK children’s hospice and is managed by a retired physiotherapist and manager of physiotherapy services. Physiotherapy helps children with disabilities to develop and maximise their physical abilities, thus improving the quality of life for them and their families too. Most children with severe disabilities in Belarus have never had access to such treatment before.
The BCH Physiotherapy Team consists of 6 physiotherapists who are learning to work as a team and that all activities must be child-centred. The physiotherapy pilot programme teaching sessions take place three times a year in Minsk and, in between visits, the UK physio team keeps in contact with their Belarusian colleagues by Skype and email. Until we can afford to expand the pilot programme, we have 10 children taking part.
This was the first time this little boy had been able to sit and play with a toy.
The cost of the Physiotherapy Programme is modest and Friends of BCH is running it as economically as possible. Our specialist trainers do not charge for their input but we do cover their travel costs. BCH provides free accommodation. Physiotherapy equipment, however, is expensive! The cheapest, adequate positioning chair to help a child who is unable to sit unaided costs £1,500. We are gradually buying more of these so that children will be able to sit up, sustainably, for the first time in their lives. This makes a huge difference to the quality of their lives and what they can do.
These children have benefitted from the programme already.
Although this little girl has a progressive condition she still needs to have some fun playing.
This young man wants to be able to play computer games but needs to work on his posture first. Pam from the UK and BCH's Katya help him.
Physiotherapy is fun!
This child receives his physiotherapy at home.
It is hard work but worth it.
This little girl has made significant progress since joining the physiotherapy pilot programme.