Ten years ago Maria Katusha became disabled from her abdomen and below. She was unable to walk and could only move when someone was around to assist her.
For the past decade, she was stuck at home, but did regular massages on her legs in the hope that she will get better one day. “I could walk until I got disabled. I started having back pains and later I could not walk anymore,” Katusha explained to New Era.
She explained she had applied for a wheelchair through a hospital in Omusati Region after the wheelchair a relative bought her fell into disrepair, but she was told she could not get one, as she is not from that region.
Last Friday Katusha and other five recipients from Havana informal settlement received wheelchairs from Supremo Medical Supplies. They are a high quality brand from Germany and are worth N$150 000 in total.
Katusha could not contain her joy, as she sat in her new wheelchair for the first time. “I’m so happy. I can drive it myself, as my arms are strong. I had a wheelchair, but it’s old now. With my new wheelchair I can go to town or to clinic,” Katusha gushed.
Another recipient, 11-year-old Fidelis Mutumbulwa, whose mother had to strap him to her front wherever they went out of the house. The boy cannot speak or move. He just lies on the bed or his pram.
“I carry him wherever I go. I can’t look for work because of his condition and I can’t care for him either as I am unemployed,” said the mother Melania Emmanuel.
She had left her son with relatives at one time when she found a job but noticed that his condition had worsened without her close care.
She prays the government will increase his N$250 pension grant, which is barely enough for his upkeep. After assessing Mutumbulwa’s condition it was agreed he would get a special wheelchair this week.
Supremo medical supplies general manager Beth Kangootui said they approached Moses //Garoeb Councillor Martin David a month ago, saying they have six wheelchairs to donate.
“We wanted to give back to the community. We recently donated N$2.5 million worth of surgical items to several hospitals,” he said.
Kangootui said David’s office took care of the selection process. They were accompanied to the handover by occupational therapists from the Ministry of Health to ensure the beneficiaries get the correct wheelchairs.
Councillor David said they have a list of all disabled people in the constituency, although they are not sure whether everyone concerned is registered. He said to date they have registered more than 60 people on the list, from where they chose the beneficiaries.