February 28, 2020

Recycling Australian and Canadian prosthetic legs

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Prosthetic limbs have become an important part of our society as they enable amputees from around the World to acquire augmented mobility and autonomy. However, in Legs4Africa, we believe that the distribution of such prosthesis around the World remains highly unequal to this day. Indeed, countries of what we refer to as the Global North, are highly equipped with prosthetic legs through universal healthcare systems. The United Kingdom, France, Canada, and Australia are examples of such systems, and we have found that in those countries lower-limb prosthesis are replaced regularly, and used prosthetics are thrown into landfill. Meanwhile, in regions like sub-Saharan Africa, ordering one prosthetic leg adapted to your needs requires unaffordable shipment costs as well as expensive fitting and rehabilitation sessions. The ultimate goal of our organization is to reduce, around the World, the inequalities between the Global North and the Global South in terms of access to prosthetic legs. 

Legs4Africa recycles prosthetic legs around the United Kingdom that would otherwise be simply thrown away. We send them to partnering hospitals or fitting centers around sub-Saharan countries, where professionals receive our equipment to fit the patients that have the least means to get a prosthetic limb. Nowadays, a growing number of hospitals, fitting centers, and prosthetists have contacted us for our service, but we remain limited by the number of prosthetics we recycle yearly. We are dreaming big and hope that one day we can help as many amputees unable to afford prosthetic legs. To do so, our goal is to expand the recycling of prosthetic legs to new countries where prosthetics are not recycled, and this is why we are launching the Global Recycling project. This project starts with Canada and Australia, where no prosthetic leg is recycled, and where we have decided to create two new prosthetic recycling systems. Our aim is to create a network as wide as possible between wasted lower-limb prosthetics and amputees who cannot afford a prosthetic. 

So far in Canada and Australia, we have contacted Rotary Clubs around the country who could potentially help us with the dismantling of the prosthetic legs. Additionally, we are contacting fitting centers and hospitals around these nations to enquire if they would be interested in becoming partners with us, and help us recycle their unused prosthetic legs. Our next step is to create a connection between neighbouring Rotary Clubs and Fitting Centers around Canada and Australia, so that later we can recycle a greater number of lower-limb prosthetics. We are very excited in leading the Global Recycling project, and our international recycling aspirations are to reduce inequalities, to provide independence to more individuals, and to develop a sustainable system with no waste.