The Centre caters for newly-injured clients who have either neurological or spinal cord injuries or traumatic amputations. It will also be offering services to clients with visual impairments.
The Paediatric Neurology Rehabilitation Unit is a joint venture between the University of Pretoria and the Gauteng Department of Health. This facility is strongly integrated with the Paediatric Neurology Unit at Steve Biko Hospital and the well-established Paediatric Neuro-network that provides supportive care in communities.
The main objective of this Unit is to empower mothers or primary caregivers in the optimization of long-term, home-based rehabilitation of children with neurological disorders.
Speaking at the official opening of the Unit today, Ms Elma Burgher, the Deputy Director: Rehabilitation and Technical Services at the Gauteng Department of Health, said that with this project, the government and its partners are completing the rehabilitation puzzle.
“There are still some pieces missing, but we are getting there. The patient and family are the centrepiece of the puzzle,” she added.
Many of the patients seen at the Paediatric Neurology Unit are severely disabled and need special care at home.
According to Professor Izelle Smuts, Head of the Paediatric Neurology Unit at the University of Pretoria, mothers will have the opportunity to get daily training under trained supervision to empower them to proceed with knowledge and the necessary confidence at home.
“We cannot take away the disability, but my sincere wish is that we will give some hope to these parents and diminish the enormous responsibility and workload of these mothers by teaching them effective rehabilitation techniques; prevent serious and expensive complications in the long term; and also optimize the quality of life of children that are easily forgotten,” she added.
Ms Law concurred with Prof Smuts’s sentiments: "Gauteng Department of Health is pleased to offer this service to children with disabilities. The child will be attended to by a multidisciplinary team of health professionals, thus ensuring a comprehensive and holistic rehabilitation programme,” she added.
Apart from building a bridge between academia and community-based medicine, the Rehabilitation Unit is also creating awareness of rehabilitation amongst students and contributing to teaching and research opportunities.