‘Leg Bank’ Hope for Changing Amputees’ Lives
Thursday, May 7, 2015
A ’leg bank’ – providing life-changing prostheses to low-income people who have lost limbs – is being developed by a team including University of Strathclyde researchers.
Academics from Strathclyde, and members of Dutch-based social enterprise organisation ProPortion, plan to establish a service in Colombia offering high-quality artificial legs to people who have lost limbs, often through injuries from landmines. The team aims to help people who struggle to find work, meaning they cannot afford to buy prosthetic limbs, or to support themselves and their families.
A team led by Dr Arjan Buis, from Strathclyde’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, has developed innovative technology, known as Majicast, to manufacture lower limb prosthetic sockets which fit prostheses securely to patients’ residual limbs.
ProPortion has devised a potential business model which would encompass training for people who are currently operating at prosthetic technician level, enhancing the quality of their product and enabling the service to become self-sustaining. If successful, the venture could be adapted for use in other countries.
While an agreement has been reached in Colombia for a nationwide programme of landmine removal, the devices have killed or injured more than 10,000 people in the past 25 years.
Dr Buis said: “Colombia has a high incidence rate for amputations, not only owing to landmines but also to other causes such as diabetes and traffic accidents. However, many people there are unable to get access to prostheses.
“The Majicast is a straightforward, fully automated, easy-to-use device that will produce high quality prosthetic sockets. The Majicast’s relative ease of use is particularly important in low-income countries, where human resources are often scarce and the demand is high.