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Madagascar

After stroke, Raizy makes progress with rehabilitation care

A stroke left Raizy partially paralyzed and stole her independence. Through rehabilitation sessions with Humanity & Inclusion’s local partner, she’s improving her mobility and adapting to daily activities.

Raizy, 54, has four adult children. Originally from the Tulear region of Madagascar, she traveled far and wide with her business. When she was 40, Raizy experienced a stroke, which left the right side of her body paralyzed. Ever since, she has used a wheelchair to get around and says she must depend on others to complete daily activities.

“Since I can’t move anymore, I have to depend on others to do everything for me,” Raizy explains. “I cannot even feed myself. Sometimes I call for help and nobody comes, I feel powerless and it makes me sad. I don’t want to sit anymore.

"My greatest wish is just to walk again. I want to take care of my children, my grandchildren, and return to my business.”

Rehabilitation challenges

Raizy was referred to Humanity & Inclusion’s partner rehabilitation center. Because Raizy did not start rehabilitation care until years after her stroke, the paralysis is more difficult to overcome. Covid-19 precautions presented an additional challenge.

“We had finally started to see some progress, but with the pandemic, Raizy had to stop coming to the center altogether,” says Denis, a physical therapist at the rehabilitation center. “She is now able to come back again, but she has lost her progress and the paralysis is now also affecting her left side.”

At the rehabilitation center in Tulear, Raizy regularly works with Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation partners to help improve her movement. She receives massages to release muscle tension and improve flexibility and participates in one-on-one sessions with Denis to strengthen her arms, legs and core. Raizy also exercises using a stationary bike.

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Restoring independence

“Right now, we are working on little movements like lifting her hands and touching her nose,” Denis explains. Later we will help her learn to hold and write with a pen. We also exercise her upper body so that she will be able to sit up on her own one day. I try some exercises without holding her, and I push her gently on one side so that she has to balance herself and it helps her core muscles grow. She will gain stability and upper body muscles.”

Denis says there is still a long way to go before Raizy reaches her dream of walking again, but in the meantime, his focus is on restoring her independence.

“We are still rehabilitating her muscles, but most importantly we are helping her to adapt to her daily life,” he continues. “If she cannot lift her spoon with her right hand, we help her find another way to use her spoon. If she cannot walk on her feet, we must find another way for her to get around efficiently. This way, she can have her life back, even if it doesn’t look exactly the same.”