In Jordan, an agreement has been in force since 2013 between the Bambino Gesù and the Combonian Missionary Sisters who manage the Italian Hospital of Karak, with the aim of guaranteeing the presence and constant improvement of a free assistance service in child neuropsychiatry and pediatric neurorehabilitation aimed at the population of the province of Karak, including numerous Syrian and Iraqi refugees present in the area.
The area of intervention was identified in close collaboration with the Combonian Sisters who highlighted their desire to intervene on a problem to which the national health system did not respond, and still today does not respond, adequately (even if important steps forward have been made).
The object of the collaboration is training of medical staff and specialist assistance through distance learning sessions, consultancy on complex clinical cases, on-the-job training missions.
History of the project
It is in this context that the collaboration initiative with the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital takes shape, born from an expressed desire of the Hospital itself to be able to share the mission in the Middle East through their specific and rich experience in the pediatric field. Through the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the first contacts and exchanges of experiences took place.
The specific choice of the project comes from a reality that particularly struck us. We were in fact aware of many pediatric neurological cases here in the South. We realized that many severely handicapped children had not had the possibility of specific and qualified active rehabilitation although some government programs already existed.
In September 2013 during the initial visit of Dr. Lorenzo Borghese (at the time Head of International Activities of the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital) problems, needs and possible programs were identified. Subsequently, a memorandum of understanding was written to confirm the intention and willingness to develop the project on both sides.
In November 2013, the project begins and takes shape in the first 5 following missions.
From the sixth mission onwards, the project followed two well-defined paths:
- Motor rehabilitation
- Neuropsychiatric rehabilitation with parental training for autistic children
Parents understood the preciousness of our highly qualified courses. Although there are government centres, the rehabilitation protocol used by us touches a specificity and a rehabilitation quality not present in the country.
During these years the protocols for neuropsychiatric and neurorehabilitation evaluation have stabilized with international texts.
An important step was also taken in the neuropsychiatric part with the arrival of the speech therapist Dr. Fabio Quarin who undoubtedly helped to organize the various evaluation tests.
In their missions, the rehabilitators patiently teach the psychotherapists who become familiar with the different protocols for both evaluation and implementation of the exercises.
Another factor that marked the rehabilitation process was the presence of Dr. Michela Armando, a physiatrist who opened up the possibility of injecting BOTOX with excellent results.
During both neurorehabilitative and neuropsychiatric missions, great attention is paid to the parents to whom a lot of time is dedicated. Doctors have found great interest from parents who film the various exercises and continue the rehabilitation at home.
Since the beginning, almost 1800 children have been examinated.
Many children have improved and several go to school.
Our mission is located in Karak, (Jordan) which is about 140 km from the capital Amman. Karak is Jordan’s poorest province, with a population of 250,000.
The Italian Hospital has been providing its service since 1935 to the population of the Karak region and other neighboring areas, inhabited by various local and immigrant presences, in particular Bedouins, Kurds, Gorani (African ethnicity) and refugees or migrants: Syrians, Iraqis, Egyptians, Sinhalese and Pakistanis.
It is a mission entrusted to the Comboni Missionary Sisters since the beginning.
Italian Hospital of Karak
- OPBG missions:
- 2 Institutional missions
- 3 Neurorehabilitation missions
- 2 Neuropsychiatry missions
- 3 Physiatry missions
- N. Orthopedic Surgery missions (to be defined)
- N. EEG Technician missions (to be defined)
- 2 child Neuropsychiatry seminars
- 2 Neurorehabilitation seminars
- Remote training and consultancy on complex clinical cases