This series endeavours to show you the real people who are affected by amputation and to highlight the work that, with your support, Legs4Africa can achieve.
Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in many African countries. This is due to an influx of cheap, high sugar, processed foods that have flooded the market making healthier foods prohibitively expensive. Poor dietary education and lack of awareness of symptoms means that the disease is often not well managed. A small cut or graze can quickly develop into a wound, which can become infected easily. This is common in the feet. If this is not treated, gangrene can develop and amputation is necessary. With the correct treatment and, if spotted early enough, such issues can be avoided. However, education and medical care is often not sufficient or does not occur at all.
Fatima, a family woman of 48, needed a lower limb amputation due to gangrene. The foot had deteriorated so much that a rat began to eat her toes when she was sharing a bed with her sister and daughter, after which the wound became infected and amputation of the lower leg was undertaken.
As is the case with many Africans, Fatima cannot afford the food that will improve her health and the diabetes medication is prohibitively expensive. With a family, costly medication, and now being an amputee, Fatima found life very difficult indeed.
She explains how her aunt told her about Gabu, the prosthetist. “He gave me a spare foot, and it changed my life.”
However, with a prosthetic limb provided by Legs4Africa and the support of both her family and The Gambian Amputee Association, Fatima’s life is looking more positive each day. Fatima is just one example of many who struggle under the combined burdens of disability and low income and, Fatima’s story only serves to highlight how a vicious cycle can appear in such circumstances.
She explains how her aunt told her about Gabu, the prosthetist.
“He gave me a spare foot, and it changed my life.”
She goes on to say how her granddaughter helps her in the morning by passing her her leg and with that, they are ready to go.
“Now, it is easy.”
This is just one of the many examples of how the simple gift of a prosthetic limb can make such a profound difference to someone’s life. These people have dignity and want to be able to do things for themselves. They don’t want to rely on family or friends, they, like us all, want to make their own way in the world and achieve things for themselves. Though Fatima’s life isn’t perfect as diabetes medicine is still expensive along with healthy food, her life has been improved. The support of people such as yourself and the work of Legs4Africa Fatima now spends less time worrying about the future and more time enjoying her family.