Poor nutrition can be a reason for needing a Mobility Cart

Maker of the Mobility Cart since 1994.
Have you heard of Konzo disease that causes paralysis?
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MW-Columbia update 4/25/18: 585 Mobility Carts built in 2018

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One of many lessons I have learned in working with Mobility Worldwide is that there are many causes for leg handicaps worldwide (see updated list), and that there are also numerous groups working to solve the problem. For the most part, we do not know each other.
11 years ago a college student from Alaska, Jolie Glaser going to school in California, went to Zambia as a summer intern and worked in a refugee center. (Refugees came from Congo, Burundi, and Uganda.) She sent us photos and descriptions of about 32 youth and adults who had deformed and shriveled legs, all looking much alike. About 1/2 were between the ages of 7 and 26 years and about 1/2 overall had contracted polio. A doctor who sent a note along with the photos said that when those children were in the womb that area had a severe drought and time of starvation. He thought that lack of proper nutrition was a cause.

Born with disability in hips and both legs…26 year old Congolese refugee, shoemaker

Two of those photos hang on our office wall, and the others are in our file. We were able to secure Mobility Carts for them, but their story still haunts me.

Have you heard of Konzo disease in Africa? Read pages 6 & 7 of this detailed distribution report from our partner in Democratic Republic of Congo (shipped there thru FAME in IN). They distributed 11 Mobility Carts there some to victims of Konzo disease. They have requested 200 more carts.

An article in “The Economist” magazine, Dec. 25, 2017, tells how plant scientists are improving the plants that Africans eat to make them more nutritious. Common food plants are Cassava, sweet potatoes, Lablab bean, Elephant ears, water berries, bitter gourds and sickle sennas – standard fare in many parts of Africa.

Plant breeders have done much to improve the growth and nutrition of plants used in the developed world – corn, wheat, rice, etc. but have done little to help the small subsistence farmer. Now a Dr. Wanga, for example, has rearranged the genetic make-up of sweet potatoes to greatly increase their content of vitamin A. Other crops such as melons are being bred to increase their fat and protein.

So – perhaps crops that are more nutritious will build better legs and bodies.
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“Shared joys are doubled, shared sorrows halved.” Old saying.

Mel West, Director Emeritus
DBA Mobility Worldwide MO – Columbia

Pet Project Mel West

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