CRP Bangladesh


A young physiotherapist named Valerie Taylor
came to East Pakistan in 1968. But due to the evacuation of foreign personnel
in the Liberation War, she was dragged away, even though she dearly
wanted to remain. On her return to the new Bangladesh, Valerie
admitted two paraplegic patients for whom there was no satisfactory treatment
in the whole country. Valerie nursed, treated, and rehabilitated
the two men, and got them home to their own villages. So, the concern for spinal injuries patients
was planted in her own heart. Her work continued and grew as the CRP was
born, the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed. With a population of over 140 million people,
and smaller than the UK, Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated
countries in the whole world. This documentary is a collection of video
footage and photographs, taken by my uncle Brian last year and also
from my cousin Ian’s video footage from his trip there three years ago. This building is the Reddaway Hall. Appropriately, first of all we see scenes
from the physiotherapy department. The CRP is a training school for physiotherapists
and occupational therapists to a degree standard, in association with
Dhaka University. Many of the injuries are extremely serious. Patients come into the hospital, and many
are put on skull traction. You can notice the mirrors, which enables
the patients to be involved in their care and their treatment. The hospital has the most wonderful children’s
unit for disabled children. A large part of the children’s therapy is
all about rehabilitation. Many of the children require special aids
for their treatment. And, in fact, all of these aids are manufactured
by CRP on-site. Another incredible aspect of CRP is the special-needs
school. Here many of the patients are significantly
disabled. The children are given a good education and
are helped to become useful members of the community for
later in life. As you can see, the hospital has a fantastic
library facility, where patients can help with their rehabilitation
by learning and furthering their education in all aspects
of life. The patients also get the opportunity to learn
tailoring skills and also embroidery work. Here you can see some of the wonderful embroidery
work created in the women’s unit in Gonokbari. The unit has its own printing press, where
records, letters and other materials are produced for the hospital. This is also where the cards, that you can
see on display in the foyer, are printed. Occupational therapy is very much part of
the healing process. Here the patients are making up paper bags,
swabs, and other treatment materials that are used. Creative arts are also another huge part of
the rehabilitation process. Ibrihim, who lost his arms after falling from
a pylon and was left paralyzed, has incredibly learned to draw and paint using
only his mouth. The hospital makes all its own wheelchairs
and its mobility aids. Each and every one is built to an individual
specification. This footage is of the metal workshop and
of the carpentry shed. Here you can see Valerie demonstrating that
comfort is part of the process. CRP also has an electronics workshop to help
patients gain new skills so they can be reintroduced into the workplace
when they leave. Patients can also take computing classes, learning a range of word processing and database
management skills. For some, this is a key part of their rehabilitation
process if they are ever going to get back to work. In the prosthetic department, they pretty much make all of their own artificial
limbs and aids including back supports and all other
prosthetic appliances. When my uncle was out last year, an ex patient
of the hospital, Anwar Hussein, who works for Oxfam, returned to make a donation of four new sewing machines to help add to
the hospital’s resources. Even although many of the patients are confined
to wheelchairs, it doesn’t stop them from having a game of
basketball. Even those patients who are confined to trolleys enjoy a game of balls or even coits. Sports and leisure play a key role as part
of the patient’s rehabilitation process. The hospital grounds are home to a large garden
nursery. Here, plants are grown in large quantities
for sale to help towards funds for the hospital. In front of the hospital is a large swimming
pool. This is used by physiotherapists for water
and swimming therapy for spinal injury patients. There is a small shop in the hospital, where many of the products made by the patients
can be sold. For some patients, the last part of their
rehabilitation is to move into a halfway house. This village is situated within the hospital
grounds, where patients can learn the everyday skills
required to move back into their own home and their
working environment. These are just some remarkable scenes from
a wonderful place, and is a tribute to a remarkable lady, Valerie
Taylor, OBE, who holds the Bangladesh Medal, the most prestigious award in the entire country.

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