On a first time visit to Afghanistan, the Director General of the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), Mrs Carin Jämtin, visited the orthopedic centre in Mazar-e-Sharif run by the Swedish Committée for Afghanistan (SCA) on May 28th. The centre supports almost 2 600 persons with mobility devices every year, including 1 200 women. In total in Afghanistan, SCA gives orthopedic assistance to more than 14 000 persons each year. Polio is a common reason for seeking help, and Afghanistan is one of few countries in the world where the disease has not yet been eradicated.
Sakhidad is 55 years old and got polio in both his legs as a child. He is currently living at his sisters house and eight years ago he received his first tricycle from the Orthopedic Workshop in Mazar-e-Sharif. Sakhidad’s old tricycle had broken and he was visiting the Orthopedic Workshop to collect a new tricycle at the same time as the Director General of Sida was there.
“Before I got support from the workshop I used my hands to move from one place to another. My hands and body would get injured on stones or other things on the ground. Now that I have a new tricycle I will go out and search for work. I am thankful for the support from Swedish Committee for Afghanistan since I could never afford to buy my own tricycle” says Sakhidad.
SCA also provides physiotherapy services from 12 physiotherapy centres in Afghanistan as well as assisting persons with disabilities in their homes. Customized mobility and assistive devices are produced in four regional prosthetic and orthotic workshops. SCA has provided orthopedic services such as orthoses, prostheses, wheel chairs and walking frames for more than 30 years. Empowering persons with physical disabilities contributes to equal access to society and is one of SCA's goals.