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A Black male physical therapist sits on a wooden bench with a little boy in Uganda. They are holding their arms above their heads during a rehabilitation session
Uganda

Kennedy stands tall thanks to his 3D brace

Thanks to an innovative 3D-printing project, 5-year-old Kennedy can walk on his own and play with other children for the first time.

Displaced by fighting in South Sudan, Kennedy’s family arrived in Uganda in December 2016, when he was just 9 months old. Now, he lives with his mother and two siblings in the Arua district.

Kennedy has Cerebral Palsy. And though he can eat, drink and hear easily, he is unable to speak. He also has limited dexterity and finds it difficult to hold objects.

“My wonderful, brilliant, cheerful little boy has had from Cerebral Palsy since birth,” says his mother. “Two days after he was born, he had a high fever; I took him to hospital in South Sudan where they diagnosed him with severe malaria. The doctors treated him straightaway, but it left him with consequences that have affected his mobility and communication skills: he can’t switch sides when he is lying down and he can’t sit, kneel or stand. He couldn’t walk without a walking frame. He depends on adults to do almost everything other children take for granted, including dressing himself or going to the bathroom.”

c_D.-Komakech-Q.-Neely_HI__Three_Black_children_sit_in_a_circle_on_a_mat_outside_in_Uganda._The_boy_on_the_left_is_wearing_braces_on_his_legs.jpg

Kennedy began physical therapy with Humanity & Inclusion’s specialists in February 2020, after meeting with community volunteers. Despite challenges, Kennedy is growing stronger with each rehabilitation session. He’s already learned to stand and move around with the support of a walker.

In November 2020, Kennedy was enrolled in Humanity & Inclusion’s 3D PETRA project—an initiative that equips people with custom, 3D-printed braces and artificial limbs. After a consultation with a technician, Kennedy was prescribed braces for his feet. The team scanned his lower limbs, then printed braces to fit him perfectly.

As Kennedy continues his physical therapy exercises, he’ll soon be able to walk on his own with his braces. His mother is extremely grateful and delighted her son can finally play with other children in their neighborhood. Next, he’ll conquer school for the first time!

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