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Mobile prosthetics unit in Myanmar

Saw Eh Thar has a prosthetic fitted

What?

The Leprosy Mission in Myanmar runs a mobile prosthetics unit that travels around the country providing medical care to people who have lost their limbs, either through leprosy, or as a result of landmines that litter the country.

Why?

Multiple decades of armed conflict in Myanmar have left a legacy of landmines, improvised explosive devices, and other explosive remnants of war. There are whole areas in the country where people have to live among these hidden dangers. As a result, the loss of limbs is sadly all too common.

The Leprosy Mission is experienced in providing prosthetics to people with damaged limbs as a result of their leprosy. This expertise is also highly relevant to people who have lost limbs through landlines and other devices.

Also important is The Leprosy Mission’s commitment to zero discrimination, which means that it provides an inclusive approach to healthcare. The mobile clinics help people living with prosthetic limbs to feel an integrated part of their local community by treating them as individuals in their own right. As our clinics tour the country, they bring people access to healthcare they would have struggled to access because travelling to a healthcare centre in another part of the country would have been very hard for them.

How?

A mobile clinic travels to different regions throughout Myanmar, providing casting of new prosthetics, physiotherapy and teaching people in their own homes self-care – how to look after their own wounds, and which exercises will keep them strong. The team provides whole new legs and other limbs, and is able to repair damaged and destroyed devices.

Challenges

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the team had to stop some of their activities. However, in areas where travel was not restricted, they were able to continue some care with appropriate PPE.

The current political situation in Myanmar has also led to various degrees of restriction on all of our work in Myanmar, including our mobile prosthetics units.

Successes

As well as bringing vital support to vulnerable people, one additional benefit of the mobile clinic is the way it brings members of the local community together. The team has seen service users support each other in many ways, both practically, and psychologically, even though they come from many different ethnic groups.

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