Study finds major lack of resources for rehab patients in Malawi

Malawi has a population of 16 million, yet, only one inpatient rehabilitation center for individuals with stroke, spinal cord injury, and similar conditions. With just 40 beds, the Kachere Rehabilitation Center in Blantyre, Malawi’s second largest city, provides services to the entire country. Because there is little funding for rehabilitation in the country, there is essentially no rehabilitation and follow-up services for patients after they return to their families, homes, and communities.

Leslie B. Glickman, PT, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM), examined how a group of the center’s patients reintegrated back into their community after leaving. She found that patients had moderate to severe difficulties. They faced a range of obstacles, including major physical and environmental barriers, as well as social exclusion, and feelings of sadness. “It was not unusual to find sources of water hundreds of yards from the home, public transportation miles away, uneven and mountainous terrain leading to and around the homes, narrow doorways inside the homes, and rooms too small for wheelchair or walker use,” said Dr. Glickman. The study was published recently in the Journal of Global Health.

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