Community service: DUHS gives the needy a helping ‘prosthetic’ hand

People with special needs get artificial limbs free of charge.


Our Correspondent August 16, 2012

KARACHI: The Independence Day was the best time for Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) to extend its “arm” of generosity to the most needy in the society. The university distributed artificial limbs free of charge among people with special needs, ranging from children with congenital problems to elders disabled by gunshots or road mishaps.

The transformation that the beneficiaries went through could be seen right there at the DUHS Arag Auditorium on Wednesday, as within minutes of the prosthetic limbs being fixed, they sprang up to show that they could move just like anybody else.

The artificial limbs were customised according to patient measurements and requirements, and they were trained on how to use them. The varsity too used the occasion to highlight the achievements of its Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

While India and Bangladesh have numerous such institutes, there was none in Pakistan despite the fact that the number of people with disabilities was increasing, said Dr Nabila Soomro, the director of the institute.

The Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation was established in 2007. The limbs are prepared with polyester resin using the latest German technology, which, the patients said, are good cosmetically, functionally and can last almost four to five years.

About 95 per cent of the prosthetic limbs have been given free of charge, said Kamran Yousuf, the manager of Prosthetics and Orthotics department.

For those who can afford, one below-the-knee limb costs Rs9,500 versus the market price of Rs17,000, and above the knee cost Rs18,000, which is available for Rs50,000 privately.

Since 2007, the institute has enabled more than 18,000 people by providing them with artificial limbs and care. “We aim at disability prevention, identification and management,” said Dr Soomro.

The multidisciplinary team of experts at the institute includes physiatrist rheumatologist, orthopaedic surgeon, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, clinical neuropsychologist, podiatrist, rehab nurse and vocational therapist.

Prof Masood Hameed Khan, the DUHS vice chancellor, appreciated the efforts of Dr Soomro and said that the project was only possible with the help from the Sindh chief minister and the finance ministry. Murad Ali Shah, the finance minister, who was the chief guest at the occasion, also appreciated the efforts of the institute.

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