Over 1 billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, suffer from some form of disability. For those who cannot afford to address their disability, the problems often compound and get worse. Those who suffer from a disability are, on average, more likely to be less educated, earn less, and have poorer health outcomes. These expected outcomes worsen as economic status declines.
To help address these issues, Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD) created the Helping Hand Comprehensive Physical Rehabilitation Complex (HHCPRC) in Maneshra, Pakistan, with branches in 5 other constituencies. The physical rehabilitation program works to help the people of Pakistan through 5 primary program goals. They aim to empower the disabled people they treat by offering Skills Development and Livelihood Classes in addition to their therapy. They advocate for the patients they work with and ensure their voices are heard and that they receive equal treatment in their lives. They conduct outreach in order to determine where to set up additional medical camps and run awareness campaigns. They educate by providing opportunities to learn within their programs and obtain a job working for the complex. They aim to prevent diseases or afflictions that can cause disabilities through vaccination.
With these goals in mind, the HHCPRC provides free services to the people of Pakistan. For their patients who have intellectual disabilities, they provide psycho-social therapy. For their younger patients, these therapy sessions often include the parents, so that they are better equipped to help their child long term. For the visually impaired, HHRD’s trained optometrists provide free surgeries to correct issues such as cataracts, trachoma, glaucoma, corneal opacity, and refractive errors. For patients who are already blind, they can provide training in reading braille, and assistive technologies for computers. In addition to treating existing conditions, HHRD hopes to prevent future eye problems by offering free eye health checkups to the region.
The HHCPRC treats patients who are hearing impaired by providing them with assessments and hearing aids when it is possible. For the physically disabled, HHRD provides state of the art physical rehabilitation services. Through therapy sessions, the physical therapists are able to help their patients strengthen their muscles to a point when they are usable and ideally pain free. Physiotherapy is used for the treatment of major spinal injuries, brain injuries, and more serious musculoskeletal disorders. These doctors are trained to pinpoint the source of disabilities that impair bodily function in everyday life. In order to prevent further pain and deformation, orthotics, prosthetics and wheelchairs are given to those who need them.
Within the complex in Maneshra, the Helping Hand Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences (HHIRS) was established to teach future generations of doctors work within their programs. They currently offer a 5 year doctorate degree, and a 2 year diploma is physiotherapy. For locals with disabilities who are interested in becoming part of the program, HHRD offers a completely free education. For those without disabilities, they offer free paramedical diplomas, and 50% off of their program fees.
By working with the community in Pakistan, and empowering them to assist in running this complex, HHRD helps both the disabled and the local economy. To learn more about their services, and to donate, visit their website. People like you are the reason HHRD is able to offer so many life altering treatments for free.