FoCT Support for the Limbless

Komote and Mariam

If you are unlucky enough to have lost a limb in this part of north western Tanzania, then getting a prosthetic replacement is quite a process. FoCT is now working to make this process a little simpler.

I recently returned from a one week trip to Uganda, where I took 6 amputees to the Great Lakes Rehabilitation Clinic in Kampala. They were the first group of many who will be travelling to Uganda in the coming weeks. This initiative is being sponsored and coordinated jointly by Izaas (a local NGO) and the Rotary Club, with support from FoCT.

There are many reasons for amputation in this part of Tanzania, but the leading causes are road accidents, snake bites, cancer and bone infections. Locating the amputees, and arranging passports, transport, food and accommodation for them is massive logistical exercise in itself – huge credit is due to Izaas and the Rotary Club for their excellent work.

Making the actual limbs is a specialised process, and requires a high degree of technical knowledge and experience. Currently, there is no 'Jaipur Limb' centre for making prosthetics in NW Tanzania, so amputees are forced to make the long, arduous journey to Uganda or Kenya to seek assistance.

One of the clients was 6 year old Komote, who lost his right leg after being run over last year. His mother died of HIV-AIDS last year, and his father is 'unknown'. Bringing Komote to Uganda, making his new limb, and bringing him safely home, cost around $500. What a wonderful investment this is.

Komote was accompanied by 9 year old Mariam, who was also run over last year. They come from the same town, so they will be helping each other adapt to their new limbs over the coming months. Komote and Mariam are fortunate to have benefited from a first rate technical job by the Great Lakes clinic in making their prosthetic limbs.

Jaipur limb centre

Of course, it would be preferable to have a prosthetic limb facility in this part of Tanzania itself. FoCT is now working with the Catholic Diocese of Bukoba, local NGO Izaas, and Rotary International to establish a 'Jaipur Limb Centre' at Kagondo orthopaedic centre, on the shores of Lake Victoria. This will be logistically much easier for the amputees. FoCT is now forging a partnership with 'Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope' (ELoH) to make this vision become a reality. ELoH is a UK based initiative, dedicated to supporting the limbless. With their support, FoCT and Kagondo hospital hope to establish mobile clinics to identify, diagnose and support those suffering from orthopaedic challenges.

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