Truck will transform life for Myanmar disabled

Report
from Tearfund
Published on 03 Dec 2012 View Original

A new truck manned by four physiotherapists is to tour Myanmar (Burma) making and fitting prosthesis for leprosy-affected people, landmine victims and others who have lost a lower leg and suffered physical and emotional trauma.

The work done on board will transform the lives of around 350 people in its first year alone.

Tearfund partner, The Leprosy Mission, became one of the Myanmar government’s leading organisations for disability issues following the expertise and care it administered to disabled people after cyclone Nargis hit the country in 2008.

There are 1.4 million people living with disabilities in Myanmar - one of the poorest countries in Asia - which include some of the nation’s most marginalised people.

The Leprosy Mission runs a network of 15 disability resource centres across Myanmar where people with a disability of any kind can access medical treatment, physiotherapy, job training and micro-loans required to establish a small business.

To date, however, there has been little opportunity for people who have lost a lower leg to have a prostheses fitted - allowing them increased mobility and a chance to live life to the full.

Landmines

But thanks to a grant awarded by the German government’s ministry of foreign affairs, anyone who has lost a lower leg now has the opportunity to have prostheses made and fitted free of charge and without having to travel a great distance.

The Myanmar government has tasked The Leprosy Mission with running the mobile prostheses clinic through its Disability Resource Centres which will prepare an individual by bandaging the stump and offering physiotherapy.

The four physiotherapists on board the truck have been trained by a Danish expert, Hans-Otto Sigurd Rungby, to make the prosthetic limbs.They will work with each patient ensuring their new limb works for them prior to the disability resource centre providing aftercare.

Dr Zaw Moe Aung, Country Director for The Leprosy Mission in Myanmar, said, ‘Until now prosthesis services are available only in a limited number of places in Myanmar.

‘Whether the people coming to us are landmine victims or have lost a limb as a result of nerve damage caused by leprosy, the opportunity to have a prosthetic limb is a God-send. It will transform lives by allowing freedom through mobility and subsequently new opportunities for employment.'