Improving lifes in three dimensions:
sustainable scientific care
Many amputations occur in Sierra Leone due to complex wounds caused by traffic accidents, serious infections and the delayed patient presentation to the hospital. Besides, many amputees lost their limbs due to acts of violence during the Civil War (1991-2002).
In Sierra Leone, the vast majority of people still do not have access to prostheses due to a lack of knowledge, availability of materials, trained staff and high costs. As a result, people often feel incomplete, which can lead to jealousy, insecurity, and depression. It is expected that having a prosthesis will enable them to blend in with the rest of the society and give them confidence.
Access to 3D printing, even in its most basic form, can provide a useful and essential tool for manufacturing locally relevant medical aids, such as braces, splints and prostheses at reasonable cost.
In collaboration with the Technical Medicine course at the University of Twente and under the guidance of the 3D lab at the Radboud University Medical Centre, we are setting up a 3D lab in the Masanga Hospital in Sierra Leone.
The 3D lab is run by Dutch Technical Medicine students, who collaborate with local physio therapists and prosthetic specialists. Dutch specialists are involved for any advice if necessary. By exchanging knowledge in the field of culture, medicine and technology, a partnership is created in which both the Dutch interns and the local population learn from each other.
In the future we would also like to involve Sierra Leonean students in the project, so that in addition to providing care, it will also become a training place for the local population.
For a project like this to run on its own, it must be made sustainable. This means that the prostheses must be affordable for the local population and the project can be carried out by the local population itself. To achieve this, the process of making the prostheses must be made as standardized and simple as possible. In addition, we believe it is important to continue monitoring patients in the future to collect data and prove the sustainability.