Peaceful sleep

Deon Bezuidenhout from Harrismith recently received the surprise of his life when Pharmaline delivered a new electric adjustable bed and mattress to him. Deon has been a high level quadriplegic for the last 23 years, spending much of his time on a mattress on the floor. The donation will afford Deon far greater comfort, enabling him to sit up to eat, drink, engage with others and to rejoin society. Thanks go to Glenn and Corinne of Family Adventures for sharing Deon's story with us. QASA is proud to have partnered with Pharmaline and, together with Deon, we would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to Pharmaline for such a generous donation.

Fikile Mthimunye get his licence thanks to Driving Ambitions

When you are disabled you have to rely on others to assist you wherever you go. Fikile Mthimunye had to rely on his father to take him everywhere he wanted to go because public transport was not accessible with his wheelchair. This motivated me to get my driver's licence, but when I started looking for driving lessons at driving schools, I had to deal with many setbacks because they did not cater for people with disabilities.

I was so determined to get my driver's license that I started consulting with people and searched on the Internet and fortunately I got an answer from my supervisor, Caswell Maswanganyi, who told me about Driving Ambitions.

I didn't hesitate for a moment and scheduled driving lessons with them after going for an assessment by Caroline Rule. She was fantastic and made sure that I was as comfortable as possible in the car. My driving instructor, Pat Allen, taught me how to drive and I would be lying if I said that it was easy in the beginning but I enjoyed every moment of it.

There were days when I felt like giving up but through perseverance and encouragement from Pat and my family I didn't give up. After ten lessons with Pat I was ready for my test, or so I thought, but unfortunately for me I didn't pass the first time.

I scheduled another five lessons with Pat and on the 4th of September 2012, I got my licence!

Finally, I could be an independent. I bought my Kia Picanto in December 2012, and Chairman Industries adapted my hand controls, so today I am able to drive myself anywhere I want to.

Standards in bladder management

The QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA) has embarked on a project that aims to improve the standard of care for Spinal Cord Injured (SCI) persons and bladder management, with specific focus on catheters and catheterisation techniques.
Many might relate to the complications that arise from poor catheterisation techniques, for example, urinary tract infections (UTI's), which may also lead to pressure sores through extended hospitalisation. The objective is to improve the standard of care and practice relating to catheterisation and aims to reduce and/eventually eliminate such complications.

To achieve this, an investigation is underway into understanding current practice with respect to SCI person's experiences through acute, rehabilitation and most importantly, community long-term care in both public and private sectors. This includes their access to care and the requisite supply of relevant prescribed devices (including catheters) and the reimbursement thereof.

Interviews and surveys have taken place amongst a variety of public and private health care practitioners, officials and institutions, including the Road Accident and Workmen's Compensation Funds, National and Provincial Governments working with Disabilities, Rehabilitation Centres and SCI persons themselves to better understand their experiences.

QASA intends developing initiatives to close the gap between where the status quo and where the standard of care is now and where it should be to improve quality of life for those living with such disabilities.

A NEW FUTURE FOR SADA

The South Africa Disability Alliance (SADA) was established in 2007 as a platform for discussion, joint planning, collaboration and consensus-seeking amongst key role players within the disability sector.

During a strategic planning workshop hosted in Edenvale on 25 and 26 February 2013 a decision was taken to formalise this structure by registering as a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO). In addition to the structure of SADA discussions focused on:

  • A revision of SADA's terms of reference, mandate and protocol;
  • Branding, identity and marketing strategy;
  • Opportunities such as the annual ACSA Disability Conference & Lifestyle Expo;
  •  A communication strategy with stakeholders;
  • Representivity of SADA;
  • SADA as a resource for disability expertise and competence (including information dissemination):
  •  SADA's advocacy role on key disability issues; and
  •  Funding sustainability.

Task teams were established in line with these discussions heralding a new and more effective era for SADA.

Current SADA members include Cheshire Homes, DeafBlind South Africa, the Deaf Federation of South Africa (DEAFSA), Disabled People South Africa (DPSA), Epilepsy South Africa, Muscular Dystrophy South Africa, the National Association for People with Cerebral Palsy, the National Council for People with Physical Disabilities in South Africa, the Quadpara Association of South Africa, the South African Federation for Mental Health, the South African National Council for the Blind and the South African National Deaf Association.

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