A meeting with Mamoudou Adama: new approaches to treating children in Niger
We have a chance to meet with Mamoudou Adama, head of the physiotherapy department at Niamey National Hospital, who is taking part in an innovative project born of the partnership between the Fondation Total and the Institut Pasteur.
He talks about his commitment to the children he treats in Niger, and about the benefits of the physical rehabilitation training that he is following in the context of a project which looks at the consequences of meningitis in Niger, with the aim of enhancing the Physiotherapy unit in Niamey.
In a calm voice that expresses the gravity of the situation, he talks about the children who are rehabilitated in the hospital; the travel problems experienced by parents who live far away; the time that passes, a long time, far too great a time between treatments, decreasing the physiotherapy's effectiveness for children who are sometimes in rehabilitation for life.
Answering these needs means being up-to-date on all the new approaches in neuro-motor rehabilitation. You have to use your imagination and adopt appropriate methods, like those that Mamoudou Adama has come to France to learn about through on-the-job training, far from his home and his family, in the middle of France's biting cold winter.
All of this in order to discover, learn and transmit to his teams some of the gentle techniques that help work the joints, and that can be applied between sessions.
Convinced by what he has seen, Mamoudou Adama describes the most easily replicable techniques, such as inexpensive plaster splints to keep limbs in place, favouring postures that lead towards a more normal mobility. Between sessions, progress is improved with continuous exercise techniques.
Mamoudou Adama is also enthusiastic about his discovery of rehabilitation through play - so much can be achieved with balls and slides! Children set themselves fun challenges which they find stimulating, so they progress together. This progress has a ripple effect on the whole group.
Getting parents more involved in order to sustain rehabilitation over time is also one of his goals. He has notably learned a lot regarding otorhinolaryngology by working with occupational therapists, and he hopes to be able to share these methods to promote better child nutrition: showing parents the everyday actions that facilitate food consumption when a disability makes this difficult.
We are touched by his words. So much can be transmitted through exchange, we have so much to learn from each other for the benefit of patients. Supporting this project is very stimulating for the teams at the Institut Pasteur as well as for those of the Fondation Total.
Thanks to this approach, Mamoudou Adama will be able to transmit new practices to his teams of caregivers, to empower patients and to help parents support their children throughout their lives.
In the context of a project launched in partnership with the Institut Pasteur and the Fondation Total...
... which aims to help patients deal with the consequences of meningitis in Niger, Adama, head of the physiotherapy unit at NNH, took part in a training program which allowed him to enhance the physical rehabilitation he provides to children within his service. This training program was coordinated by Dr Jeanne-Charlotte Carlier from the Ellen Poidatz Foundation in Saint Fargeau.
In the spring of 2015, an initial 6-week placement within the centre for physical rehabilitation at Saint Fargeau, allowed Adama to assess his needs.
A second 12-week placement was organised during the third trimester of 2015:
- 6 weeks at the Saint Fargeau centre on performing check-ups and setting up individual therapy plans with children and young people;
- 6 weeks at the Infant Motor Rehabilitation Centre at Antony. Within this second structure, he was able to follow children with cerebral palsy in their physical rehabilitation therapy plans;
These two training periods allowed the head of the physiotherapy unit at Niamey Hospital to become aware of the need for multidisciplinary care for children with cerebral palsy, which is not the case in Niger.
He also learned about immobilisation techniques using plaster that can relax the joints and correct posture in infants. This inexpensive technique could easily be implemented in Niger.
During this period he also received training on:
- The different stages of motor development, i.e. the motor phases that the child goes through during motor development (standing up, maintaining balance, creating movement sequences, moving, etc.), in Tours and Rouen, through rehabilitations techniques requiring little equipment;
- The management of dysphagia, i.e. problems in swallowing, which affects many children in Niger, and which can in many cases be improved simply by providing parents with better information.