This trip is Prosthetic Promises' 7th trip to Zambia. With the clinic being completed and Protashow working with us, we've established our routine for how each trip is carried out. We see patients for evaluation and castings, as well as repairs to existing devices, from the Macha area and Choma area on the first 2 days, then do fabrication of the new devices in the middle portion of the trip (as well as see a few patients who drop by) and then spend the last few days fitting all of the prostheses and orthoses made at the clinic.
Monday was evaluation of patients from the Macha area and some who traveled directly to the clinic. We had 14 patients to evaluate on Monday, which turned out to be 8 repairs/check-ups and 6 people for new devices (one of them was braces for both legs, so it was 7 new devices).
We left New Day on the bus with Protashow at 7:40am to go to the Macha radio station where we would meet patients and determine who we could help.
The road to Macha off the paved road is very bumpy, and there was lots to see including these guys traveling with their oxen cart.
Macha radio station.
There was a relatively small group of people at the radio station, so it didn't take us long to talk with each person to see what they needed. One person came to see John for a prosthetic eye, so he was told that John will be back in April and to come then.
Checking out Akim's prosthosis (an orthosis-prosthesis combo) for his leg deformity and one side shorter than the other. His device was made in April and only needed a few small adjustments this time.
All the patients waiting on the porch after we got back to the clinic from Macha.
Mweetwa was casted for a new below knee prosthesis. We had repaired his existing prosthesis during a past trip, but it is now really not fitting well and causing irritation on his skin.
Here's Suzanne with Blessford and Akim. Blessford, who is Akim's brother we found out this trip, was seen for adjustment to his prosthesis. Blessford was fit in April with his first bending knee prosthesis, as he had a straight leg prosthesis in the past. He is now walking really well with the prosthesis and getting the knee to bend.
Joel was seen for repair to his prosthesis. He needed a new foot and new supplies.
Gilbert was casted for his first prosthesis. His amputation was in 2017.
Protashow casted Gilbert with instruction from Suzanne as he continues to learn all aspects of seeing patients and fabricating.
The ladies who cook lunch for the patients while they wait at the clinic.
The patients getting served lunch.
This is Elvira. Her ampuatation was in June due to diabetes and is not completely healed, so I was unable to make her a prosthesis this time. She has fallen on the leg since her amputation, which has contributed to it not healing. I fit her with shrinkers, which is a compressive sock for the leg to help shape it for prosthetic fitting, and made her a protective cover for the end of her leg to wear in case she bumps the end of the leg or falls to hopefully prevent the wound from opening further. We told her to come back in April when we can make her a prosthesis if the leg is healed then.
Here's Trywell, who is 14 yrs old. He came for follow up and was casted for a new above knee prosthesis. We last saw him in 2017, so he's grown quite a bit and needed a new prosthesis
....and a funny story: Apparently some people in Zambia have several names they can go by, so we've been calling him Arnold for 5 years. This time, Louise had talked with each person waiting on the porch with an interpreter to get their name and what they were at the clinic for, so she wrote down Trywell. After already casting him, I was calling out "Trywell" to the people waiting on the porch to call in the next person and here walks up who I thought was Arnold. It was confusing and an interesting cultural lesson. From now on, we'll call him his preferred name of Trywell.
Haston has bilateral clubfoot and was casted for AFOs for both sides.
David's below knee prosthesis was repaired.
Louise walked down to the Ark to bring back a picnic lunch for us that Fostina prepared. We grabbed a bite between seeing patients.
Daniel has bilateral below knee amputations and rode on the back of a motorcycle for 2 hours to get to our clinic. Only one leg was healed, so the right leg was casted for a prosthesis. This will allow him to stand-to-transfer on the one prosthesis while we wait for his other leg to heal. We'll see him again in April to make the other prosthesis.
Daniel leaving on the motorbike. It really is incredible how some people travel, and how far they travel, to come to the clinic!
Melvin was seen for an adjustment to his prosthesis and new supplies.
Given was seen for adjustments to his below knee prosthesis.
Osia just needed new supplies for her below knee prosthesis.
Louise, our helper extraordinaire, just jumped right in with assisting wherever she was needed....getting supplies, cleaning up, walking down to get lunch, taking pictures.
We had one woman who came to the clinic needing eyeglasses. Louise helped her choose a pair of glasses that helped her the best. Louise was so great with each person who came for eyeglasses! She tried on the glasses herself to determine if they were for close up or distance and helped each person find the best pair to help with their vision and fit their face well.
At the end of the day on Monday, we had 3 below knees, 2 above knees and 2 AFOs (ankle-foot-orthoses) that were casted for fabrication during our trip. After the patients left, we organized the clinic some to get set up for fabrication and filled some of the casts.
Louise working on organizing prosthetic socks.
Suzanne filling casts.
Monday was a big day, and we knew Tuesday would be too.
*Next post: Tuesday, Sept. 11th: Choma area patients