Obtaining prosthetic limbs following amputation can be extremely costly, particularly for the disabled poor.
Because they are largely imported, the cost could go into thousands of cedis, and those who are affected become burdens on their families and society.
However, there is some relief. Local materials are being used to construct prosthetic limbs at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
For the past four years, KNUST researchers have been working on a lower limb prosthesis utilizing less expensive local materials.
“The aim is to reduce the cost of lower limb prosthesis, reduce amputees begging on the streets and thereby create jobs, ” said Faisal Wahib Adams, lead researcher at the Mechanical Engineering Department.
The group started by building the shank using bamboo after studies in 2005.
This followed testing the strength of Ghanaian bamboo for physical and mechanical efficiency for industrial purposes.
The socket is made out of waste materials and nylon fibre commonly used to produce what is locally known as “efie wura suame” – Ghana must go – bags.
Finally, they settled on sawdust for the feet, after experiments found sachet water bags were too soft while Plaster of Paris was too hard.
The prosthetic foot has been tried on patients at the Orthopaedic Center at Nsawam, where they have proven effective enough to handle gait functionalities.
The team is currently carrying out further test to improve the innovation, based on patient’s response.Follow us on Whatsapp , Instagram, Twitter , Facebook