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37 corrective surgeries registered as Pearl Dairy Farms celebrates Christmas with beneficiaries

On Wednesday, Lato Milk a product of Pearl Diary Farms Limited and LATO help initiative celebrated early Christmas with their beneficiaries on a luncheon at Lohana Academy, Kampala Uganda.

Started in 2018, the LATO help initiative has helped a number of children with disabilities so as to enable them do normal things and reach their dreams and goals in future. It is said upto 1.4 million children in Uganda are living with disabilities which brings about discrimination and marginalization, among them are caused during their early childhood and some of the conditions include;  Cerebral  palsy, Hydrocephalus, Polio, Accidents, Severe malaria, to mention a few.

L-R: DR Jesca Nsungwa Sabiiti , Commissioner Child Health, Ministry of Health, Mr. Bhasker Kotecha, the Chairman Pearl Dairy Farms Ltd and Mrs. Drashna Kotecha, the patron of the Lato Help initiative officially launch the initiative at Lohana Academy in Kololo during the Lato Help Christmas event. This event was held to celebrate the life of the 37 children benefitting from the initiative. These children between the age of 4years -18 years have had corrective surgeries and treatment . The initiative is funded by 100% proceeds got from the 500ml Fino Lato Red pack sold in most of the retail shops.

Lato Red pack was started to solely help children with disabilities under the theme ‘’Buy a Pack and Save lives’’ together with partners; Graphic Systems, Uganda Medical Centre, Uganda Broadcasting Cooperation, among others. During the first year, upto 37 successful surgeries were registered costing upto USD150, 000 with each surgery costing upto USD1,000 per child as the project foresees to change many more lives in the near future.

Speaking at the event, Mrs Drashna Kotecha, the patron of the initiative said, “Through this initiative, we have seen tremendous progress in the lives of these children. Our younger generation needs to be supported in all ways and these children are part of that generation that we adults are responsible for.”

The colourful occasion brought together the children and their parents/guardians to celebrate life and the success of the project’s first cycle. The first cycle saw the full recovery of one of the children. This occasion also marked the official launch of the initiative.

She said, “When Pearl Dairy embarked on this initiative in 2018, together in partnership with UMC Victoria Hospital, our main purpose was to provide corrective surgeries to as many children as possible who couldn’t afford either the surgeries or treatment. So far, we have managed to successfully reach about 37 children and we will not stop until our goal is achieved.”

She added, “To all our partners, we are truly grateful for all your support in all your capacities and the general public who continue to buy the Lato Red pouch. Each of these pouches sold is one step closer to a brighter future for these children. Every child deserves a world that presents to them numerous possibilities.”

The LATO Help Program is funded purely from sales of the LATO Red pouch. The money goes into paying for the progressive treatment of 37 children; overseeing not only their surgical needs, but also providing the critical physiotherapy needed to ensure that the surgeries and treatment have a positive effect.

UMC Victoria Hospital Uganda has for the past year held regular health camps where these children’s conditions are first accessed. Parents/guardians details are also recorded in regards to their financial background, employment history, educational qualifications and access to medical facilities. A committee of doctors then selects the children for the various corrective procedures, then send a recommendation list to the governing committee for approval.

Mr. Denis Twambale, the UMC Administrator said, “Through these medical camps, we are able to access which child is eligible for surgery and treatment. Every child is chosen based on the severity of their condition and their economic background to ensure that the neediest child receives the treatment first.”

He said, “UMC Victoria Hospital has been open to this initiative and has allocated doctors that have the most experience in these cases. We encourage the parents to follow through with the physiotherapy processes properly, because it’s a critical part of the whole treatment and to be hopeful every day. We at UMC Victoria Hospital are happy about the progress of these children and this gathering here shows us the support system that these children and parents have. So thank you all for being part of this initiative. ”

Mrs Drashna Kotecha also said, “This Christmas season and especially today we take the opportunity to celebrate our children, our parents and partners for the achievement and journey taken so far in regards to this initiative.  We began this initiative after realising a community need, where over 1.4 million children are living with a form of disability and are often discriminated and marginalized.”

Lato Milk is the brand name for Pearl Diary Farms with the company’s processing unit based in Mbarara District, western Uganda. The company has several community oriented projects intended to complement efforts to increase dairy production and improve livelihoods.

L-R: DR Jesca Nsungwa Sabiiti , Commissioner (Child Health) Ministry of Health, Mr. Bhasker Kotecha, the Chairman Pearl Dairy Farms Ltd and Mrs. Drashna Kotecha reward one of the partners that have contributed tremendous towards the success of the project. This was during the official launch of the Lato Help initiative at Lohana Academy .This event was also held to celebrate the life of the beneficiaries of the initiative.

She concluded, “Together with our different partners, we are working towards providing these children with the possibility of living normal lives where they can freely play and learn like any other child.  We are all proud and delighted to see the improvement and progress of these children. Therefore we commit ourselves to continue helping more children as these who are living with disabilities and can hardly afford corrective surgery or treatment. We also take the opportunity to call upon the public to continue supporting this initiative by buying the 500ml UHT Lato Red pouch which is available in most supermarkets.”

By Our Reporter

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