Due to EU regulations, these legs are classified as medical waste and cannot be reused domestically. Without Legs 4 Africa’s intervention, they would be left to gather dust in storage, or be sent to landfill.
Amputation is a serious issue in West Africa due to diabetes and civil war, and prosthetic legs typically cost £350 – more than the average annual wage in many areas.
Through partnership with UK companies and hospitals and a highly successful crowdfunding campaign, this start-up charity is in the process of giving 1000 people the chance to walk again.
The legs collected throughout 2014 are to be given to partnering mobility units in Banjul (Gambia) and Dakar (Senegal), where facilities and expertise will re-adapt them to new users, free-of-cost.
Amongst the wonderful companies offering their free services to Legs4Africa are: Adrian Dale (who provide pallets); Pa-llex (for transport logistics); DS Smith Hinckley (for packaging) and Ground Qube (for transport and man power).
To fund shipping and transport, Legs4Africa also teamed up with crowdsourcing platform Made Open, raising £2000 over the Christmas period. This truly life-changing cargo left England on 24th January.
The charity’s founding trustee Tom Williams stated: “It is an immensely personal and rewarding feeling to offer someone the independence that comes with a prosthetic leg, especially when they would just be scrapped in the UK”
Gabu, head prosthesis in a Gambian medical centre, said: “Previously, we were receiving just 20 legs from abroad a year. Most of the legs [we received] came from deceased Gambian amputees. Now, we can really help the country’s disabled.”
Throughout 2015, the Legs4Africa team plan to collect another 2000 legs; the journey to Africa undergone by the limbs will be followed and documented.