Friends of BCH is developing and funding another ground-breaking initiative at BCH. Deb and Pam, UK physios who are Friends of BCH volunteers, visited Minsk to launch a paediatric physiotherapy pilot programme and to train BCH staff. They will be visiting BCH again at least twice in the coming months to monitor the programme, set new targets and continue to train staff at BCH and parents of children receiving therapy.
Alisia Skomorovskaya, a member of the PR team at BCH, has written about the visit.
Olga Avila heads the Early Intervention Centre in Polyclinic No 19, one of 7 such centres in Minsk. For 15 years it has been helping young patients aged 0-3 years old, whose physical development is delayed due to neurological problems. The treatment approach is to work through the normal stages of a child’s development.
‘We educate other practitioners and hold seminars,’ says Olga, ‘but in all cases, the main input to a child’s development must take place at home. That is why we encourage the parents to take an active role in their child’s programme.’
We were allowed to watch as Olga and her colleague worked with an 18 month old boy. He walks with assistance and can already say a few simple words, successes largely due to his visits to the Centre. He has difficulty sitting and standing so this treatment aims to help him develop his co-ordination and strength in these positions. This is done through play as therapy must be fun for the child. He likes the feel of raw buckwheat trickling through his fingers and is happy to demonstrate how a bear growls or how he can bang a drum.