On Tuesday, after a long journey from London, 50 Koalaa prosthetics arrived in Syria. Although at a first glance, this may seem like a rather odd delivery, to 50 beneficiaries, this is a key to functional independence.
In Syria, over a decade of conflict, infrastructure degradation, and ongoing displacement has exposed millions of people to physical injury and trauma, while destroying their access to essential services and support.
There are an estimated 50,000 amputees. Yet in reality, that figure is likely far greater. Not only do these amputations have a physical and functional affect, but having children with disabilities contributes to a household’s socio-economic vulnerability. Devastatingly, these children are some of the most marginalised in times of conflict. The scarcity of mental health and psychosocial support services in Syria only acts to compound these issues. But with your help, and with our partners, Physicians Across Continents and Koalaa, we are a step closer to changing this.
Our prosthetics programme is being run from the Hope Step Centre, in the Azaz district in Northwest Aleppo. Over 60% of the population of this district are internally displaced people (IDPs). The centre is currently the only humanitarian centre which provides free-of-charge care to this vulnerable community. It is supervised by the only physiotherapy doctor in Northwest Syria and managed by advanced trained prosthetic and orthotic technicians. We are so proud to be able to support these incredible professionals to implement this project, and so excited to see the results.
As well as receiving their new prosthetic free-of-charge, the programme has been designed to give each beneficiary physiotherapy sessions to support them in regaining their mobility and ensure their comfort. Importantly too, the beneficiaries and their caregivers will receive psychosocial support services, which are vital for supporting their mental health and to get used to their new prosthetics. Together, this all works to make the programme sustainable and gives the beneficiaries the best possible chance to use their prosthetics to build a life beyond their limb difference.
Our Program Coordinator, Louai, says that what is so exciting about this project is that: “Koalaa limbs are lighter in terms of weight, and the patients can use them for holding a light cup or brushing their teeth.” Being able to do these daily things makes a significant difference to patients’ lives.
At £500, the fitting of a good prosthetic limb costs less than your smartphone, but still an amount inaccessible to most Syrians.
Please consider donating today, to help continue the success of this project: