Recycling local legs in Bournemouth to support those with limb differences in sub-Saharan Africa
Since 2015, the Dorset Prosthetic Centre, which is now part of University Hospitals Dorset, has been working alongside UK registered charity Legs4Africa to put unwanted prosthetic legs to good use.
In the UK, approximately 5,000 prosthetic legs end up in landfills every year. Meanwhile, in Africa, 1.7 million amputees are in need of a limb to help them live independent lives. Thanks to this unique partnership between Dorset Prosthetic Centre and Legs4Africa, these statistics are starting to positively change.
The Dorset Prosthetic Centre has donated an incredible 700 legs to Legs4Africa since the partnership began. These legs have then made their way to their forever homes across eight sub-Saharan African countries, including The Gambia.
Once there, the prosthetic leg parts are fixed, adapted and fitted to amputees who otherwise may never walk again. In many of these countries, a leg built from imported parts costs upwards of £800, making them unaffordable for the majority of people. But by utilising parts that would otherwise be classed as medical waste, Legs4Africa is helping to get people like Joe back on their feet.
Joe who received a leg from Legs4Africa said:
“I broke my leg falling out of a tree, and in the end, I had to have it amputated. Thankfully I have a prosthetic now which was made from parts donated by Legs4Africa. This means I can continue with my career as a fashion designer. I have great plans for the future, I want to expand my business so I can eventually support my family.”
For the incredible team at the Dorset Prosthetic Centre, this partnership also provides them with an opportunity to do their bit for the environment while supporting amputation patients in countries further afield.
Tim Randell, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist at Dorset Prosthetic Centre said:
“Legs4Africa is such a great charity providing a much needed service. Before we started working with them, returned prosthetic legs would not get the chance to be reused. It is great to know that now they will continue to be used in helping people get back on their feet. Our clients who have returned legs are really pleased and reassured that their legs are getting another life helping other people.”
This autumn, Dorset Prosthetic Centre is helping Legs4Africa to promote their latest fundraising campaign, aptly named Leg Up which has so far raised £15,732. This match funded campaign, which runs until Christmas Eve, aims to raise awareness of the challenges faced by people with limb loss, while generating funding that will allow Legs4Africa to continue utilising Dorset Prosthetic Centre kind donations for the next two years. The vital services offered by Legs4Africa consist of providing support and prosthetic leg parts for the only mobility centre in The Gambia, community outreach and offering emotional support like counselling sessions through rehabilitation services.
To donate to the Leg Up campaign please visit www.legs4africa.org/legup. You can also follow the campaign on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – @Legs4Africa.
For media enquiries please contact Sam on [email protected].
Notes to editor
Legs4Africa is a registered charity (charity number 1158697) based in Bristol in the UK. The charity was founded in 2013 by Tom Williams after his trip to The Gambia. Tom was introduced to a gentleman who needed a prosthetic leg urgently, and his search began. Once back in the UK, Tom was able to successfully source a leg for Paul. In the process, he discovered that access to affordable prosthetic legs was a problem faced by over a million people with limb differences on the African continent.
Since then, Legs4Africa has sent enough prosthetic leg parts to build or repair over 9,500 limbs – working with hospitals in the UK, the USA, Canada, France and Australia, with further opportunities arising across Europe. The charity collects used prosthetic legs, which under current European Union law, cannot be re-used in the United Kingdom.
The prosthetic legs are then shipped to African countries such as The Gambia, Ghana and Uganda, where they can be modified for, and used by people with limb differences. Alongside this recycling programme, Legs4Africa works closely with in-country partners to improve services, create opportunities and ensure amputees have everything they need in order to live independent lives.
Dorset Prosthetic Centre
The Dorset Prosthetic Centre covers the whole of Dorset and parts of Wiltshire and Hampshire. The Centre provides comprehensive prosthetic services to patients of all ages with limb difference, supplying and maintaining a range of prosthetic options to meet the needs of people with upper, lower or multiple limb difference. The Centre aims to provide a high quality holistic service to meet the identified needs of the individual and enable them to reach their potential with regard to mobility, vocation, daily living and leisure