Health Ministry to carry out prosthesis campaign

22 Jun 2013 07:40
WINDHOEK, 22 JUN (NAMPA) - A Ministry of Health and Social Services campaign to provide 226 transtibial (below the knee) prostheses to Namibians who have below the knee amputations will start at Katima Mulilo on Monday.
The campaign will be carried out at Katima in the Caprivi Region; Rundu in the Kavango Region; and Outapi in the Omusati Region from 24 June; at Tsumeb in the Oshikoto Region from 14 July; and at Eenhana in the Ohangwena Region from 06 July.
It ends on 06 July in the Caprivi and Omusati Regions, and on 21 July in the Kavango, Oshikoto and Ohangwena Regions.
A media statement availed to Nampa by the ministry?s public relations office on Saturday said many Namibians have lost their limbs due to motor vehicle accidents, congenital malformation and in past wars.
Others have lost their limbs due to health-related conditions such as cancer and especially diabetes, which is the leading cause of amputations in the country.
?The ministry has an orthopaedic department which treats and integrates such people into society by, amongst others, providing them with limbs or arms for them to be independent and also gain their dignity,? it read.
The Health Ministry decided to launch the campaign to increase awareness and to sensitise the public about the provision of artificial limbs.
The ministry previously used conservative technology to manufacture artificial limbs, but that method involved a lengthy manufacturing process.
?The ministry has recently acquired new technology from Iceland which has proved to be effective elsewhere, including in South Africa,? the statement read, adding that the technology has been used to manufacture artificial limbs for reputable sports personalities around the world.
Tests have been conducted on about 60 State patients at the ministry?s orthopaedic departments at the Rundu, Oshakati and Windhoek State Hospitals.
Through these tests, the ministry found that the new technology is faster and much more user-friendly when compared to the previous technology.
?The entire process of assessing the patient, manufacturing the limb, training and issuing of the limbs to one patient now only takes three hours and 30 minutes,? the statement said.
Nampa reported previously that it could take between four and six months before a client could receive their prosthetic leg made using Plaster of Paris as clients? measurements are taken, and they then have to wait while technicians produce the prosthesis at their offices in Windhoek or Oshakati.
When the prosthesis is finally ready, the client has to return to see if it fits well. If there are any problems, it then has to go back to the Windhoek or Oshakati office to be adjusted before it is finally handed over to the client.
The ministry has called on people with similar conditions to go to their nearest public health facilities so that they can acquire artificial limbs.
State patients will only be required to pay the normal hospital fee of N.dollars 15.