Since 1973 Colombia Telethon has directed its actions towards the holistic rehabilitation of physically disabled people.
The Telethon was held for 15 years non stop between 1980 and 1995, except for 1984, when the Armero tragedy took place. In 1996 the Telethon as TV marathon was stopped, due to the economic crisis that affected the country, but the Foundation is still alive.
In 2009, Colombia Telethon, at the moment they had concluded the agreement with La Sabana University, started a new phase. After a successful work, they began an important administrative renewal in which they initiated an ambitious program to build Integral Rehabilitation Centers (CRITs) and start again with the Telethon Event.
In 2010 the Telethon TV event was held once again, to contribute to the construction of a net of rehabilitation centers in different parts of the country, and to the opening of two new centers, one in Manizales and the other in the west of Bogotá, which joined the Bogotá Rehabilitation Center. This institution treated more than 79,000 patients between 1997 and 2006.
The first CRIT’s to be ready will be the one in Manizales, which is being built since early 2010 in a site in Aranjuez provided by the town mayor on September 17th 2009.
It is expected it will not only treat the local people, but also the population of the coffee-growing area, where there are more than 160,000 individuals with disabilities.
The center in west Bogotá is planned to be ready by late 2011. Following the same line are the cities of Barranquilla and Bucaramanga, where other CRIT’s will be built in the near future.
In this way, Colombia will have a net of CRIT’s, which will focus on a holistic assistance model, where the physical, psychological and social aspects are taken into account.
The lines of action of this model seek prioritize the prevention of the disability, as well as the patient and their family’s assistance. It also minds the follow-up of each disabled person treated at the center so as to achieve an effective rehabilitation.
The CRIT’s will treat patients of all socio-economic conditions, those affiliated or not to an insurance plan, private ones or those who cannot pay for the treatments. For the ones who cannot afford the costs, the treatments will be free and all the expenses will be met by Telethon.
The holistic assistance model developed in the CRIT’s contemplates the following as their main lines of action:
- Place emphasis on prevention.
- Offer an interdisciplinary medical assistance scope in rehabilitation through clinics.
- Provide specialized services in physical, occupational and speech therapy, early multiple stimulation, neurotherapy, psychology, social integration and courses for parents.
The illnesses treated in the CRIT’s system refer to infant cerebral palsy and mild, moderate and serious brain damage; congenital or acquired spinal cord injury; neuromuscular disorders, amputees and osteoarticular disabilities and congenital or genetic illnesses.
Apart from building, equipping and operating the CRIT’s, the Colombia Telethon social project incorporates a work training program, which includes insertion in the labor market and a leisure plan, with programs oriented towards rehabilitation through sports, such as tennis, basketball, indoor football, swimming, shot put and chess.
Gustavo Canal Mora (Presidente), Carlos Pinzón Moncaleano, Alvaro Villegas Villegas (director), Ricardo Di Doménico (director), Sarah Ordóñez Noriega (director), Juan Pablo Ocurrea Tavera (director), Carlos E. Moreno Mejía (director), Carlos Delgado (director), Karim Grijalba (director), Alvaro Arango (director), Carlos Espinosa Soto (director), Juan Guillermo Gutiérrez (director), Germán Jaramillo (director) y Sandra Neira (director).