Limb amputations are far more common in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) than in High-Income Countries (HICs). Most are caused by trauma as a result of road traffic accidents or conflict. Other common causes include congenital defects, infections and tumours. Having a limb amputated tends to have severe repercussions in LMICs as more people are reliant on physical activity to earn a living (through manual labour, farming, transportation etc.) and there is no social security system to provide support. Additionally, people’s access to prosthetic or orthotic devices is extremely limited due to them being relatively expensive to design, manufacture and maintain.
K4C’s focus on prosthetics and orthotics began in 2017, stimulated by a woman named Ninsiima who was a victim of domestic violence whilst being 8 months pregnant. As a result of the attack, Ninsiima lost both of her arms from the elbow down, however thankfully her baby was delivered successfully with the support of K4C’s midwifery staff and volunteers. At this point, K4C embarked on a project (in partnership with the prosthetics department at the University of Salford) to provide Ninsiima with prosthetic arms to enable her to care of her 5 children and continue to earn a living through chicken farming. A fundraising campaign was setup and the project subsequently featured on BBC World News:
The Fit-For-Purpose Prosthetics Project
Ninsiima’s story highlighted the challenges faced by amputees in countries like Uganda. This led a team of researchers at the University of Salford to design a project aimed at developing fit-for-purpose, affordable and locally manufactured upper-limb prosthetic devices in Uganda (in partnership with K4C) and Jordan. The project received £1.4M of EPSRC funding and is running from February 2018 through to January 2022. More information on this project can be found on its website (https://www.fit4purposeprosthetics.org)