Teletón Foundation Uruguay was born out of the pursuit of creating, setting up and maintaining Pediatric Rehabilitation Centers in our country, accessible to all.
The technical objective of these centers is to fully rehabilitate children and adolescents (up to age 18)with neuromuscular-skeletal deficiencies, so as to favor their school, work, family and social involvement.
Several agents backTeletón in the attainment of its goals, such as the Ministry of Public Health and its Children’s OrthopedicsService, and School of Medicine through its Neuropediatrics, Pediatric Traumatology and Orthopedics, Physiatry and Rehabilitation Chairs.
To support itself, the Foundation carries out an annual event named “Teletón”, a television program aired out nationwide for 24 hours non-stop, which raises awareness on disability issues, promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities and reaches out to citizens asking for their contribution.
In October 1995, Dr. AmilcarCagnoli (currently Associate Professor of Pediatric Traumatology and Orthopedics) takes over as Director of the Children's Orthopedic Service of the Pereira Rossell Hospital, where doctors depending on the Ministry of Public Health worked together with those belonging to the Pediatric Traumatology and Orthopedics Chair—created in 1993—.
Dr. Laura de Castellet, nowan Associate Professor, had been attending this Service regularly since 1994 —when she was Assistant Professor of said Chair—.
Concerned with achieving a higher technical level in the rehabilitation of the children supervised by the Service, both doctors started thinking of taking steps for its further improvement and development.
At that moment, the Children's Orthopedic Service was providing good technical assistance in its area: treatment of neuromuscular conditions, congenital malformations, myelingomeningocel, cerebral palsy, effects of trauma and infectious conditions, among others. But at the same time, it was clear that orthopedic treatments needed a rehabilitation procedure that could allow the child and his family to become involved in the process of education and work.
Due to structural reasons and to the type of training technicians hadat the time, the Service did not qualify as a rehabilitation center, as it was originally created to ‘recover functions’ and not to fully rehabilitate a patient.
To overcome these setbacks, Doctors Cagnoli and De Castellet contacted a center of excellence in Canada, the Toronto Sick Children's Hospital, through Orthopedics Professor Dr. John Wedge.
With Prof. Wedge’s kind cooperation, they managed to establish initial communications with the rehabilitation center attached to said hospital: the Bloorview MacMillan Center, led by Dr. Morris Milner.
The purpose of this linkwas to improve the training of technicians in the rehabilitation area. Therefore, they implemented a technical exchange program with Uruguayan doctors in Toronto and Canadian doctors in our country.
Significant progress was made between 1997 and 1998, thanks to the contacts made with the CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency). However, difficulties arose when our country had to provide the required funds to finally carry out said technical exchange.
In parallel, in 2000 the Bloorview MacMillan Center started a restructuring phase and the project could not be completed.That same year, the doctors contacted Antonio Fernandes, Director of the AACD (Association for Assistance to Children with Disabilities) in Sao Paulo. The AACD is a rehabilitation institution with 53 years of experience in this field. The most significant development of the organization started in 1998, with the support of Teletón.
Aware of the importance of having Teletón in Uruguay, the goal was to establish a reference rehabilitation center throughout the country. It was understood that Teletón could help create resources to build this center, and to support its operation in the area of care, teaching and research.
In this line, Dr. Laura de Castellet attended the first ORITEL (International Organization of Teletons) congress, held in Mexico, and the second congress organized in Sao Paulo.There she met Mr. Mario Kreutzberger (Don Francisco), founder of Chilean Teletón and Ms. Ximena Casarejos, executive organizer of all events in Chile since its creation in 1978.
As a member of the Uruguayan technical team, she expressed the wish to represent Teletón in Uruguay. They promised her to visit our country soon but they also informed her that other Uruguayan institutions had made the same request.
Keeping her promise, Mrs. Casarejos visited Uruguay in September 2001 and after considering all the proposals submitted, she decided that the project presented by our group was the one that best suited the Teletón Foundation.
As from that date, the group started working on the drafting of the future articles of incorporation and the technical project.
Several members of the civil society supported the Foundation’s creation, and we can mainly highlight Dr. Caritat’s contribution. The Foundation’s articles of incorporation were approved on July 17, 2003.
Click here to download the institutional brochure of Teletón 2014, which contains detailed information about our work in Montevideo and Fray Bentos in the last year.