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Shipment of much-needed prosthetic legs reaches Tanzanian hospital

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After weeks of issues with customs and the container being held in limbo, a shipment of 500 recycled prosthetic legs has finally reached its destination, the Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute in Tanzania. The limbs, collected from across the UK and sent by Legs4Africa, are part of the charity’s ongoing work to reduce waste by taking rejected mobility equipment and putting it to use in some of the worlds poorest communities.

‘We often have delays,’ said Tom Williams, founding trustee of the charity. ‘It’s frustrating but we’re getting used to it. It just becomes a waiting game. Obviously we want to get this mobility equipment in the hands of our partner hospitals and clinics as soon as possible for the sake of the patients who are waiting for it.’

After two months in a hiatus the container finally arrived at Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute to great excitement.

‘The number of people who require artificial limbs has increased tremendously as motorcycles have been introduced as a means of local transport,’ said Leah A. Mamseri, head of the orthopaedic workshop. 

The use of motorcycles has increased the number of casualties due to accidents leading to increasing number of amputees. It has been very difficult for the government to meet the cost of importing new components for making artificial limbs, particularly at the Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute, which receives the majority of patients, as well as those referred from other centres.

Mamseri added that, along with the increase in patients, fluctuations in the local currency has created a shortfall in orthopaedic aids and this shipment will make a great difference to patients who cannot afford to buy expensive mobility equipment themselves.

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