There were many smiling faces on the campus of the American University of Antigua (AUA) this week where over a dozen Antiguans are being outfitted with brand new modern state of the art Prosthetic Limbs.
The venture, which is a partnership between the ‘Let Them Walk Program,’ out of Connecticut, USA, Hadeed Motors, the Rotary Sundown Club, AUA and the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment will see thirteen nationals being gifted with state of the prosthetics legs.
The exercise will outfit three individuals with bilateral fittings (Two Prosthetic Limbs) while the remaining ten persons will receive a single prosthetic leg.
Meanwhile, other amputees in Antigua and Barbuda who are currently using Prosthetic Limbs will be given modified limbs and upgrades while others will be offered adjustments and consultations.
One of the team members from the Let Them Walk program is Doctor David Moller, who specializes in Orthotics and Prosthetics and when asked to comment on the initiative, this is what he had to say.
“It’s very difficult for them to get jobs, it’s very difficult for them to be a contributor to their family so now giving them a Prosthesis allows them to stand back up on two feet which means that they can first start giving back and being more independent at home without putting demands on the family and then some of them will have the potential to get into employment and hold a full-time career,” DR Moller declared.
Local coordinator Alphonso Richardson, who is attached to the Mount St John’s Medical Centre said that the venture will greatly improve the country’s image while at the same time improving the lives of the nation’s amputees.
“Having lost their limbs, most of them cannot afford to provide Prosthesis for themselves and so we are seeking ways and means of assisting them from time to time and so I think it is particularly beneficial to them and they can live better productive lives because it actually restores the independence that they were previously accustomed to before losing their limbs and so it is very very important,” he noted.
Crisfield Hazelwood is one of the beneficiaries of the Prosthetic program and he was delighted to be walking tall and hopes to see more amputees benefitting from the program.
“I know how it feels to be on your knees, everybody passing you and with me, people want to give me things like hands out and so on and am telling you the truth that it does not make me feel like I am a man. I feel like a man when I am trying to do something on my own and I know a lot more like me out there who would be glad to have this just to get around,” said Hazelwood.
The program, which started on Monday, will conclude on Friday.