Following multiple bouts of severe malaria, Sougleman, 8, lost much of her sense of hearing and ability to speak. “Despite the medical care, my daughter was left with permanent disabilities,” says Nagwabe, Sougleman’s father. “Suddenly, she could not hold an object with her hands like she used to. She did not hear much anymore and she was no longer able to speak.”
Once one of the most talented students in her class in Tandjoaré, Togo, Sougleman had to leave school for more than a year because of her illness. At home, she could not communicate with her family and she was totally dependent on others. However, her father, also a teacher, believed in her ability to go back to school and succeed in her studies.
Thanks to an inclusive education project launched by Humanity & Inclusion and its partner, Educate A Child, Sougleman was able to return to school. She received lessons in sign language and is being mentored Damipi Lamboni, a special needs teacher who works with children with hearing and intellectual disabilities.
Lamboni tutors students and helps them with homework. He also trains teachers in sign language so that they can communicate directly with students without hearing. This support had a huge impact in the classroom for students like Sougleman.
"I am very pleased to see positive changes in Sougleman,” says her teacher Koffi Kombate. “She is more involved during lessons and better included by her classmates. In many ways, she is ahead of many of the students without disabilities.”
"My wish is that she continues and succeeds in her school career,” says Sougleman’s father. “I am very optimistic.”
In addition to supporting special needs teachers like Damipi Lamboni, Humanity & Inclusion and its partner Educate a Child help children with disabilities and their families by connecting them with rehabilitation services, medical care, and other support. The organization also works with the government and local communities to promote the inclusion of children with disabilities in school.
Photo: Renovation of the pharmaceutical storage unit at Tabligbo district hospital, Togo.
HI is improving health facilities for pregnant women and newborns in the maritime region of Togo. Thanks to these interventions and others, neonatal mortality is expected to fall by 20% by the end of 2019.
In Togo, the majority of pregnant women and newborn babies do not have access to appropriate healthcare during pregnancy, delivery and the early years. Sadly, the consequences can be fatal—the infant mortality rate in Togo is high, particularly in the maritime region, and 398 in 100,000 mothers die as a result of complications during childbirth.
Currently, many women have to travel long distances to reach the nearest health facility. And when they arrive, they find expertise and access to medication is often unavailable. As a result, women are deterred from attending pre-natal appointments, reducing the chances for health actors to provide basic care, and to detect any concerns with how the baby is developing or how the mother’s health is faring.
Funding from the French Development Agency (AFD) has allowed HI to invest in the renovation of ten health centers in the maritime region of Togo. Pictured is the pharmaceutical storage unit at Tabligbo district hospital, where simple improvements to the security and quality of the building allow the hospital to store and prescribe all necessary medicines to support the maternity unit.
Across the ten centers, many different adaptations have been made, from increasing the number of toilets and making them accessible to people with disabilities, to increasing the number of maternity rooms to 31, up from 3. The project also provides training for health center staff to ensure that all essential maternity care can be correctly administered.
The project is due to run until 2019, at which point HI aims for neonatal mortality in the maritime region to drop by 20% and maternal mortality by 25%.
In many low-income and middle-income countries, only 5%-15% of people who require assistive devices, including artificial limbs, have access to them. In areas that are remote or dangerous, specialized health professionals can be scarce and materials expensive. Poorly made or unadjusted, artificial limbs can make life uncomfortable for patients by causing skin sores, pressure wounds, and muscle fatigue.Read more
Since 2012, Handicap International has been improving the school enrollment and attendance of 170,000 children with disabilities in nine West African countries through the “Promoting the Full Participation of Children with Disabilities in Education” (APPEHL) project. Sandra Boisseau, who coordinates APPEHL from Dakar, Senegal, explains what the organization is doing to remove obstacles to education for these children.Read more
Standing at the front of the class, Moussifa patiently recites the words written in chalk on the blackboard, words familiar to every child who is learning to read: “This morning, Aliou went to school. In his bag there is a pen, a notebook, a pencil, a slate, a pencil, and a book. His mother is happy.”Read more
Seeing the invisible: Sexuality-related knowledge, attitudes and behavior of children and youth with disabilities in China (2019)
Young people with disabilities have the same right to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) as their peers without disabilities, but their needs and rights are often overlooked. The findings of this study, which was initiated by UNESCO and Humanity & Inclusion, aims to provide evidence to support decision-making by government agencies, educators, development workers and other relevant stakeholders regarding developing and implementing disability-inclusive SRH and sexuality education policies and program for young people in China. View the report here.
Mental health problems are commonplace and affect more than one in four people worldwide. They are responsible for a quarter of all disabilities. This document aims to provide a basis for exploring these concepts as part of more in-depth work, including an update of the 2011 mental health framework document. View the document here.
Humanity & Inclusion works to prevent violence based on disability, gender and age and its disabling consequences in development and fragile settings, as well as to provide holistic care for survivors of violence, exploitation and abuse. HI’s goal is to ensure that people with disabilities and other at-risk groups are less exposed to violence and can live in dignity, independently, and with control over their own lives. View the flier here.
Humanity & Inclusion promotes Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of people with disabilities and vulnerable populations in development and fragile settings. View the flier here.
Humanity & Inclusion promotes the awareness raising, prevention, early detection, and care management of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes in development and fragile settings View the flier here.
People with disabilities are living with HIV. This paper explains why they must be included in virus prevention education, provided access to treatments, and rehabilitation. What's more, people living with HIV are not receiving proper rehabilitation care as the virus causes impairments. View the article here.
Road safety is a growing development and public health issue. Globally, road crashes are close to becoming one of the first five causes of death, and non-fatal injuries heavily impact on disability. Indeed, each year, road crashes kill 1.25 million people and injure as many as 50 million others. View the briefing paper here.
This document is intended to provide guidance and a framework for each stage of the project cycle for projects tackling the theme of diabetes and other cardiovascular risk factors. View report here and brief format here.
This analysis paper presents the ‘know-how’ acquired by Humanity & Inclusion in its diabetes prevention and control projects. View report here.
A policy paper that presents a design for a national plan on psychosocial interventions, aiming to develop and promote the national plan established during the July 2006 war. View report here.
As It Is: Research Findings on the Knowledge, Attitude, Practice and Access to HIV and AIDS Information and Services Amongst Persons with Disability (2007)
Scientifically gathered information concerning the knowledge, attitude and practice among people with disabilities in areas surrounding HIV and AIDS. View report here.
The disaster response environment in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake represented a complex healthcare challenge. This study was designed to identify challenges during the Haiti disaster response.
This literature review examines epidemiological studies reporting data on spinal cord injury survivors of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake in Pakistan, the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
The provision of wheeled mobility and positioning devices: Integrating wheelchair provision into rehabilitation systems: Focus on emergency contexts (2013)
This policy brief provides an introduction to integrating wheeled mobility and positioning device provision into rehabilitation work – with a focus on emergency contexts. Brief can be viewed here, with the full report forthcoming.
This guide describes the Sustainability Analysis Process (SAP), which aims to facilitate the development of a common vision of sustainability, using physical rehabilitation as a case study. View report here.
Detailed adapted physical activities are provided with practical guides, group sport guides and assessment tools in order to promote a more inclusive society through sports. View report here.
Impact of Rehabilitation Care on the Social Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Togo: Survey of 30 lower limb amputees (2009)
This report details a study on the impact of health-related rehabilitation as a contributor to social inclusion for people with disabilities in Togo. View report here.
In Togo, Humanity & Inclusion continues to run programs under the operating name "Handicap International."
Handicap International’s goal in Togo is to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through projects that promote inclusion, mother and child health, mental health, and effective physical rehabilitation. The organization first intervened in Togo in 1992. Handicap International employs 38 national staff members and four expatriates in Togo.
Since 1991, Togo has been undergoing a growing economic crisis and the absence of political change over the past 40 years has resulted in drastic cuts in international aid. Today, the country is showing signs of recovery.
The country’s economic indicators deteriorated following the death of the former president after the contested elections in 2005. However, after legislative elections in 2007 that were accepted as free and fair by the international community, Togo began to recover from an unprecedented social and political crisis. International aid, which had been blocked due to the lack of democracy, was resumed. In March 2010, the presidential elections were held without incident, resulting in a victory for the sitting president.
Since then, Togo’s economy has begun to grow; as yet however, this has been slow to significantly impact the living conditions of the Togolese people. The country is ranked 166th out of 187 countries worldwide on the Human Development Index (2014 UNDP). In Togo, 58.7% of the population lives below the poverty threshold. The number of people with disabilities is estimated at around 620,000, and 10% of these are thought to require orthopedic fittings. People with disabilities face considerable stigma and are frequently ostracized and prevented from full participation in social, educational, and economic activities.
Mother and Child Health
Handicap International works to improve the provision of healthcare for mothers and children in Togo through training healthcare professionals and improving available medical equipment. The organization also runs awareness campaigns in village communities and school geared towards changing attitudes towards maternal and child health.
Handicap International operates a pilot project in Togo to improve the status of prisoners, both in prison and when they return to their families. The organization wants to highlight the negative impact of incarceration on prisoners’ mental health. The aim is to put forward solutions to encourage greater consideration of this issue both by prison administrative staff and all relevant stakeholders.
Physical Rehabilitation, Prosthetics, and Othotics
When it first started working in the country in 1992, Handicap International provided support to seven orthopedic fitting centers. It went on to aid in the development of the National Medical Auxiliaries School (ENAM), the only training center in West Africa for orthopedic specialists and French-speaking speech therapists. In 2000, the organization forged a partnership with the French non-profit organization Orthophonistes du Monde (ODM - Speech Therapists of the World), aimed at setting up a speech therapy service within ENAM. Handicap International continues to support ENAM and strengthen its organizational, educational, and administrative capacities.