Legs4Africa is to repurpose and distribute hundreds of components and prostheses it has received from the Artificial Limb and Appliance Service (ALAS), based in the Specialist Rehabilitation Centre at Morriston Hospital, which will help people who would otherwise not be able to afford a prosthesis.
The move also prevents the used prosthetic limbs from going to landfill – or filling up storage space at the Centre. Every patient who donated a prosthesis had already received a replacement.
Swansea Bay NHS’ Advanced prosthetist Paul Drayton said: “Historically we would have disposed of prostheses rendered unsuitable over the course of time and outside their warranty by either sending them off as general waste to landfill or by being recycled back to their raw materials.
“Therefore, rather than scrapping these prosthetic limbs completely, some of the component parts could be useful in the construction or assembly of prostheses for patients in developing countries.
“The limb components will be intensively decontaminated and also reassessed for mechanical integrity by Legs4Africa before they are shipped to Africa. Once received there they can be used to assemble new complete limbs for the many amputees in poverty there who are in dire need of mobility.”
Legs4Africa was founded 10 years ago by former photographer Tom Williams.
He visited ALAS to collect the donation of dozens of limbs and components, such as prosthetic knee joints.
He said: “I was visiting Gambia and spent time with a family whose father had lost a leg through diabetes.
“I was given measurements for his stump and told him when I got back to the UK I would see what I could do to help him. When I returned I met a prosthetist who kindly agreed to build a leg in his own time at cost price. I didn’t tell the family I had been lucky in getting a leg for the father, and I took it back to surprise him.
“It was a random act of kindness, but until I saw the guy receive it I did not realise what it represented. It took the burden away from the family and he could get back into work.
“The inspiration is what led to the setting-up of Legs4Africa.”
The charity aims to provide affordable rehabilitation for amputees across Africa, to enable them to live independently through the provision of prosthetic limbs along with physical and emotional rehabilitation.
They are provided to people who have lost limbs through health issues such as diabetes, disease or war and is now partnered with 10 mobility centres across seven countries.
“We ensure each centre has the expertise and the resources needed to utilise the parts we send,” said Tom.
“Once the parts arrive, prosthetists at the centres use them to build or repair prosthetic limbs for people who otherwise may never walk again.
“Boxes of prosthetic leg parts and other materials like stump socks are then delivered by door-to-door courier services, which allows us to get limbs out to even the most remote areas and the most marginalised communities.
“There are a lot of amputees and we have also supported them in coming together through advocacy groups, which can help them with things like emotional support and with peer counselling.”
Medical devices given to patients through ALAS, including those manufactured in-house, have to be managed throughout their life cycle, from their design to their disposal. The service recently received certification enabling the former protheses to be safely donated to the charity.
Regulatory and Compliance Manager Dr Rebecca Nix said: “In March we received certification of their newly implemented quality management system which provides assurance to SBUHB patients of safe design, manufacture and provision of limbs and accessories from the ALAS service, as well as assurance to the health board of ALAS’s compliance to evolving medical devices regulations.”
Lead image: Naomi Bowey and Tom Williams of Legs4Africa, with Peter McCarthy and Paul Drayton of ALAS (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)
Young Mumbles woman aims to break cystic fibrosis barriers with half-marathon run
Ospreys confirm signing of Fricker
Council appoints new Copr Bay contractor
Enforcement officers issue 600 penalty notices in just over a month targetting environment crime
Housebuilder launches consultation on 500-home zero-carbon ready scheme in Pontarddulais
Landmark anniversary for club which provides support for young burns victims
Former Penlan district housing office transformed into flats
Council issues ‘call for sites’ as it looks to build new development plan
Triple injury blow for Swans ahead of Millwall clash
Baked beans lead the way as the favourite kitchen staple in Wales but items once found in grandparents’ cupboards are dying out
New Trade Park set to open in Llansamlet
Rhossili named among world’s best beaches
Port Talbot and Morriston Wilko stores first to shut as administrator announces 52 closures
Administrators announce closure dates for Wilko stores in Bridgend, Maesteg and Llanelli
Closure dates announced for Wilko stores in Swansea, Neath and Carmarthen
Poundland to buy 71 Wilko stores – including Pembroke Dock and Ammanford
Melyn Musical Theatre Company celebrates 100th anniversary with spectacular, sold-out Centenary show ‘Kinky Boots’
Poundstretcher to open new Llansamlet store
Swansea Ex-Royal Navy Engineer celebrates first year in business after return to city
Car parking to get more expensive in Neath Port Talbot after councillors agree raft of increases
Arts and Entertainment4 days ago
Bronze statue of entertainer Max Boyce is set to be unveiled at his beloved Glynneath
South Wales Police4 days ago
Man charged with murder after Sketty Lane car fire incident
Rugby5 days ago
Wales 40-6 Australia: Wonderful Wales hammer Australia to seal last eight spot
Business5 days ago
B&M’s ‘bigger and better’ Llanelli store a hit with shoppers on opening weekend
Glynneath5 days ago
Council asks for views on Pontneddfechan development at gateway to waterfalls
Music3 days ago
Shaun Ryder – rock’n’roll wild man heads to Port Talbot as part of major UK tour
Football7 days ago
Swans ease pressure on Duff with Sheffield Wednesday victory
Rugby3 days ago
Gilpin cast’s doubts over Rugby World Cup free-to-air future coverage