A young girl on crutches walks with her friends at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya

After poisonous prick from a thorn, Saisa recovers from amputation

Saisa developed such serious health issues after being pricked by a poisonous thorn that her leg had to be amputated. Humanity & Inclusion is providing rehabilitation and psychosocial support for Saisa.

Saisa, 10, was attending a birthday party in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya last year when she was pricked on the left foot by a poisonous thorn. After a week of traditional treatment, Saisa’s condition continue to worsen. Her leg was turning black and her skin was peeling. Her mother took her to the International Rescue Committee hospital, where doctors determined Saisa was experienced gangrene. She was admitted to the hospital and, two days later, her leg was amputated.

After surgery, Humanity & Inclusion’s pediatric rehabilitation workers worked with Saisa to shape her stump, help her manage phantom pain and teach her exercises to expand her range of motion. She also received psychosocial support to process the trauma and grief of losing her leg.

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Saisa continues to receive care at Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation center in the refugee camp, focusing on physical exercises to strengthen her muscles and train her balance, as well as psychosocial support to improve her self-esteem.

Soon, Saisa will be equipped with a prosthetic leg. In the meantime, Saisa has learned to walk with crutches. Saisa’s parents and her six siblings are also learning about the stages of grief so they can support Saisa on her journey to recovery.

“Saisa can finally go out and play with her friends without my supervision,” says Rihad, Saisa’s mother. “In the hospital, I was stressed and I thought my daughter had become useless. I never knew that someone would help me. When I went home, the Humanity & Inclusion people came to my house and now my daughter is a person again.”

When schools reopened this year, Humanity & Inclusion made sure Saisa was transferred to an inclusive school within her neighborhood.  Her confidence is growing each day, and she has big dreams for her future.

“I want to be a businesswoman when I grow up and sell many things,” Saisa says. “I am very happy that I can go to school now.”

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Image: A young girl named Saisa uses crutches as she walks with her friends at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Copyright: HI