U.S. Medical Charity Treats Disabled Children; Increases Developing World Medical Knowledge by Training National Physicians in Teaching Hospitals

LEMOYNE, Penn., Oct. 5, 2007 – AIDS, poverty and war tend to capture the American mind when it comes to Africa. But the plight of disabled children isn’t one that receives much attention. Here in the U.S. we would never let a child born with clubfoot go without treatment. In the developing world, that happens routinely and the tragic result is that the child is condemned to a lifetime of challenges. Walking is painful and makes going to school and working nearly impossible. Life offers little hope for the disabled child.

Enter CURE International, a U.S.-based medical charity that primarily treats children with cureable orthopedic and neurosurgical conditions and brings hope and healing to these families’ lives. CURE’s goal is to help families and communities understand that they no longer have to let a disability determine the outcome of a child’s life. In addition, CURE provides medical education and training to national medical professionals in countries where the organization has hospitals.

"Our motto at CURE is ‘Healing Changes Everything,’ and in the countries where we operate, this is true in every sense of the words," said Dr. Scott Harrison, an orthopedic surgeon who founded CURE International ten years ago. "Physical healing changes their livelihood and acceptance in the community, of course, but we are also treating emotional and spiritual scars. Our hospitals are operated with Christian principles, and we believe it is this faith that also brings about emotional and spiritual healing, changing these patients both inside and out."

Teaching Hospitals

By establishing teaching hospitals, CURE is transforming entire communities and regions. At each hospital, national medical professionals receive education and training in first-world medical techniques and have the opportunity to train on modern medical equipment. Through this approach, CURE helps to raise the standard of care throughout the country and also helps to ease the ‘brain drain’ so common in the developing world. Without modern facilities and proper training, health care workers have little reason to stay in their home countries. CURE is changing that by offering opportunities that did not exist prior to its arrival. The organization takes to heart the adage, "give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime."

CURE currently has teaching hospitals located in: Afghanistan, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Kenya, Malawi, United Arab Emirates, Uganda and Zambia. Within the next 18-24 months, CURE will have hospitals in Egypt, Ethiopia, Niger and Palestine.

Eradicating Clubfoot

Last year, CURE announced an ambitious campaign to eradicate clubfoot in the developing world. It is one of the most common congenital birth defects and can be easily cured with early identification and intervention. Left untreated, walking becomes very painful and surgery is required to correct the feet. Children are often unable to go to school and can’t work, which puts a tremendous burden on the family. The stigma attached to any disabled child often leads to needlessly broken and shattered lives.

In Kenya, Rauhiya was born with severe bilateral clubfoot deformity. Her parents did not know that surgery could correct their daughter’s clubfoot, which would enable her to walk without pain. Her relatives believed that the girl’s condition was the result of some wrong-doing against their forefather’s spirit. The family was told that the father did not pay the entire bride’s dowry to his in-laws and, therefore, a curse had been cast upon the family. They sacrificed a bull in an attempt to appease the spirits, but her condition did not improve.

Eventually, Rauhiya’s father abandoned her and her five siblings, leaving them dependent upon their mother. Rauhiya’s mother finally learned of the CURE hospital in Kenya, and Rauhiya is on her way to a normal, hope-filled life.

"For so many children like Rauhiya, CURE is transforming their lives. But beyond impacting individual patients and their families, we are greatly improving the delivery of care and knowledge and skills of the national medical staff," Dr. Harrison said. "We are providing a long-term solution to the health care challenges faced by many countries in the developing world when it comes to taking care of disabled children."

CURE International is a Christian nonprofit organization committed to the physical and spiritual healing of disabled children in developing countries. CURE International transforms the lives of these children and their families, serving all by establishing specialty teaching hospitals, building partnerships and advocating for these children. To date, CURE has performed 41,000 surgeries and treated more than 600,000 patients. Visit for more information.

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