Who is the best orthopedist in Jaipur
India's most famous foot
World time / archive | Article from May 9, 2012
Inexpensive prostheses for arms
By Sandra Petersmann
- When trying on a prosthesis (picture alliance / dpa)
Prostheses from Europe and North America are state-of-the-art, but they are far too expensive for amputees in India. That is why an orthopedic surgeon and a master craftsman in Jaipur have developed a leg prosthesis that is tailored to the conditions in developing countries.
The mechanics in the inner courtyard of the orthopedic workshop cut, mill, heat, bend and hammer, while the 32-year-old Ramesh looks uncertainly at the stump of his left lower leg.
"I fell off the train. I wanted to go back to my village from New Delhi to visit my family. The train was full. I clung to the outside, but I was pushed off. I lost my leg in the process."
Ramesh is a penniless migrant worker who moved from the countryside to the city to support his family. If things went well before his accident, the day laborer earned up to two euros a day. But since he lost his leg, he can no longer carry heavy loads and is practically unable to work. He limps through life with old wooden crutches.
Next to him sits a farmer from the Indian part of the Kashmir Valley, who has been hit even worse. Mohammed Sadiq only has a small thigh stump. It all started with pain in my right hip and paralysis in my leg. The 37-year-old farmer confided in a quack who cut a nerve to stop the pain. The patient paid for the procedure with severe inflammation and the loss of his leg.
"At first I couldn't leave the house or go to the toilet outside. I come from a small village in the mountains. There is no electricity here. Our light comes from oil lamps, there is nowhere help for disabled people. We live on our buffalo herd. But I can no longer work. "
The two amputated men are hoping for the Jaipur foot. You've heard that you can get it for free here in this nondescript backyard in the middle of the Indian capital. Orthopedist Sanjeev Kumar runs the workshop clinic and proudly reports that his team is able to build up to 30 bespoke Jaipur prostheses a day.
"Our patients are long-term patients. Our task is to give them the most normal life possible by providing them with prostheses, supports and other aids. At the center of our work is of course the technology of the Jaipur foot. In practical terms, that means: You come in the morning, we will examine and measure you, and in the evening you can go home with your new prosthesis. "
The orthopedist works for the Indian aid organization Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang, which produces the Jaipur foot free of charge for needy patients in India, but also for landmine victims in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Uganda. Jaipur prostheses are primarily made of rubber, plastic, wood, aluminum and leather, i.e. materials that are easy to obtain almost anywhere.
"But that does not mean that our prostheses are bad and do not correspond to the technological possibilities. We want to improve ourselves and our product every day."
Since it was developed over 40 years ago, the Jaipur foot has become lighter and even more flexible. His trademark has remained: In contrast to most western prostheses, people with the movable artificial foot from India can easily walk barefoot and work in watery rice fields.
Depending on their needs, the patient receives a tailor-made upper or lower leg prosthesis. The entire package can be kept for around three years if properly cared for. All of this for the equivalent of 35 euros. The Indian government and international donors are responsible for the costs.
A new product from the Indian prosthesis forge is the so-called Jaipur knee, which was created in cooperation with the US elite Stanford University. The artificial knee consists essentially of oil-filled nylon, four hard plastic parts and five screws and nuts.
The 15-euro knee is intended to increase the mobility of thigh prostheses and make life near the ground easier, as is common in Asia. Although the new product is still being tested, "TIME Magazine" has already chosen the Jaipur knee as one of the 50 most important inventions of recent years. Of course, orthopedic surgeon Sanjeev Kumar also believes in success.
"The simple Jaipur technology is number one in the world. Nowhere else can you get a lower leg prosthesis in one hour and a thigh prosthesis in four hours. Our prostheses are functional and cheap and tailored to the conditions in rural India. Our prostheses adapt to this Living in developing countries. "
In addition to the headquarters in Jaipur, there are now prosthesis centers in over 20 Indian cities. The one in the capital New Delhi is one of the largest. Jaipur teams also regularly travel abroad to share their knowledge. The technology is deliberately not patented. It should find imitators, also at the risk of black sheep misusing the product.
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