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Getting one's foothold back

  • Published at 01:06 am October 18th, 2019
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A girl smiles while getting a prosthetic leg at artificial limb fitment camp at Nitor, Dhaka on Thursday, October 17, 2019 Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

Artificial limb fitment camp brings hope to hundreds of people without legs

Emdadul Haque could not help tearing up on Thursay when, after living in a state of despair for a year, he finally saw a ray of hope – the chance of getting his old life back. 

The 25-year-old, who had lost a leg in a road accident during one of the Eid holidays last year, received a prosthetic leg, free of cost, at the National Institute of Traumatology & Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (Nitor) in Dhaka on Thursday. 

“My life came to a standstill when I lost my leg. I lost my job. My future seemed bleak,” said the Dinajpur native, who used to work at the quality assurance department of an RMG factory in Savar, Dhaka. 

“But now I can stand on my feet again. My old employers have asked me to meet them after receiving my prosthetic leg. Things are looking up again for me,” Emdadul told Dhaka Tribune, the excitement of being able to move around without any help evident on his face. 

Emdadul is one of 300 amputees who have received prosthetic legs at Nitor’s Artificial Limb Centre since September 28, under an initiative by the Indian government called “India of Humanity,” on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.  

Under this initiative, the Indian High Commission in Dhaka, in association with Nitor and Bangladesh Orthopaedic Society, organized Jaipur Foot Artificial Limb Fitment Camp at Nitor. 

The inauguration of the camp was held on Thursday; Md Ashadul Islam, secretary at the Health Services Division under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Riva Ganguly Das, the Indian high commissioner in Bangladesh, jointly inaugurated the event. 

This is the fourth artificial limb fitment camp that India’s Jaipur-based Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti is conducting in Bangladesh. In the last three camps, held in 2015, 2016 and 2017, over 2,290 people were given artificial limbs free, in association with Moyeen Foundation. 

This year’s camp will run till November 4, and will provide free prosthetic limbs to 200 more people.

According to the  Bangladesh Orthopaedic Society, there is a demand for 1,500 prosthetic limbs on average every year due to the high occurrence of road accidents in Bangladesh.

Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Dr Md Wahidur Rahman, general secretary of the orthopaedic society, said: “We do not have any servicing centre or a production facility for prosthetic limbs. We need properly trained technicians for that. We are short of manpower. If we can train technicians on how to make prosthetic limbs, we will be able to meet the demand here and become efficient to continue this [the camp] on our own.”

He further said that the society would distribute 700 more prosthetic legs after the camp ends. 

Speaking at the event, Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das said: “If anything changes because of this opportunity, we will be grateful. Our support always will be with Bangladesh.”