Discarded artificial limbs find new life in Africa
Thanks to prosthetic devices, amputees enjoy independence and a chance to lead a fuller life. In many parts of the United States, prosthetics are thrown into the garbage when they are no longer of use. Reusing an old prosthetic comes with many legal and health concerns.
Used prosthetic limbs are making amputees across Africa independent
Now an NGO in the United Kingdom is giving discarded artificial limbs new life by collecting and fixing them and sending them to Africa, where prosthetic devices are available with great difficulty and are very expensive as well.
Called Legs4Africa, the NGO was launched by professional photographer Tom Williams, who got the idea after he met a man in Gambia who needed a new leg. Williams took a few measurements and sent them to some people he knew. They found a discarded prosthesis that was the right size and Williams gave it to the man.
Changing one life led to a movement
Williams' effort became known to the media and from then on amputees from across the UK started sending him their old prosthetic legs.
Williams and Legs4Africa soon collected about 500 discarded artificial limbs and mobility devices and sent them to a hospital in Gambia. There, they were re-built to fit amputees.
Legs4Africa has since sent more than 3,000 prosthetic legs to Gambia, Tanzania and Zambia countries where car accidents, civil war and diseases such as diabetes are behind a growing number of amputees.
Legs4Africa have sent prosthetic legs to six countries and hopes to expand further.