Plight of Women With Spinal Cord Injuries Highlighted

Published: June 30, 2004
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A TWO-DAY workshop highlighting the plight of women with spinal cord injuries, ended in Harare at the weekend with a call for financial assistance to enable them to buy urinary equipment.

Ms Gladys Charowa, founder of the Disabled Women Support Organisation, said in an interview that there was a shortage of intermit catheters that control the flow of urine from the bladder.

“That Catheter costs $89 000 and that instrument can only be used once and you need at least four a day. That is nearly $400 000 a day and how many people on wheelchairs have you seen in gainful employment?

“When you suffer spinal injuries you lose sensation and movement from the point of injury downwards.

“You can leak anytime, anywhere and this is worse during winter. This is why most people with such disabilities do not live long as they resign themselves to their death indoors rather than go out in the open to avoid the embarrassment,” said Ms Charowa.

“We are facing financial constraints because we are failing to access meaningful financial assistance. And failure to get funds means death for the woman with spinal injuries.”

Ms Charowa suffered spinal cord injuries following a freak accident at Mbare Musika as she was trying to catch a bus to her rural home in December 2001.

“I started the organisation while I was in hospital and I am the only patient out of the 19 patients I was with at Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre around that time who has have lived to tell their story.

“I have survived because I have a regular income through consultancy work and I can fend for myself. If the catheter is not changed regularly you develop bladder infection and die,” said Ms Charowa.

The Herald (Harare)