“With this artificial limb I am like any other person. I can cook, fetch water and dig”
(Female victim, Gulu, Uganda)
Physical rehabilitation provides victim survivors with an extensive degree of physical healing, which enables them to re-engage in regular community life. Physical rehabilitation is a highly promising means of restoring the normalcy of daily life in post-conflict settings.
The Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) has been actively providing programme activities for physical rehabilitation in northern Uganda and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2008. The TFV’s programme activities for physical rehabilitation respond to serious violations of the victims’ bodily integrity, including mutilations. Other, most common physical injuries include burns and chronic wounds, mutilation of ears, noses or lips, loss of limbs due to human amputation and land mine incidents.
In both these situation countries, the TFV has been working with implementing partners to provide prosthetics, fittings and access to specialised providers for reconstructive and general surgery, bullet and bomb fragment removal and physiotherapy sessions to victims. Further examples include the improvement of inclusive accessibility in civic buildings in Gulu, and the identification, referral, and assisted transportation of survivors of sexual violence in order for them to access fistula repair, HIV tests and treatment, post-exposure-prophylaxis (PEP), and other specialised medical care.
Through its implementing partners, the TFV also provided professional trainings on a new technology of limbs fabrication, i.e. Swiss legs technology, to orthopaedic technologists in Uganda. This has led to an expansion of rehabilitation services to orthopaedic workshops in the different regions of Uganda and victims no longer have to travel long distances for repairs, fitting, and replacement of limbs.
Injury and trauma conditions addressed through TFV Physical Rehabilitation programming include the provision of:
- Reconstructive plastic surgery to remedy facial, head, and burn injuries
- Prosthetic devises (fitting and repairs)
- Physiotherapy treatment
- Orthotic devises and related services
- Orthopaedic surgical services
- Professional health services (physical and mental health) for all individuals (women, men, and children) who have been victims of sexual violence
- Corrective surgery to remove foreign objects (bullets and/or shrapnel)
- Relief of post-burn contractures, corrective surgery, and physiotherapy
- Mobility and recuperative therapy (burns)
- Victim-patient community mobilization initiatives
- Establishmenh and maintenance of referral mechanisms with competent service providers for post-operative care and follow-up
The most significant change that beneficiaries have reported is the ability to live a normal life again--to make plans for the future, to resume school and gardening, to have the confidence to participate again in community gatherings, and to restore their independence and self-reliance.
See also IMPACT (LINK)