Leprosy Mission Nigeria, Australian, Swedish govts provide free prosthetic limbs to 50 amputees
By Lizzy Okoji
Jun 19, 2023
Abuja, Nigeria -The Leprosy Mission Nigeria (TLMN) with support from the Australian and Swedish governments has provided free prosthetic limbs to fifty amputees during an outreach in Abuja.
Dr Sunday Udo, TLMN National Coordinator, during the prosthetic limbs outreach said that the initiative seeks to address challenges with disabilities, reintegrate the amputees into society to enable them have a fulfilled life.
Udo said that the outreach was in two phases with the ongoing one of today to take the assessment of beneficiaries, which would be followed by the presentation of the prosthetic limbs to them after the manufacturing.
“This is an initiative that we are so happy about, that we are pleased about. It is an outreach to address disabilities, so we are looking at providing prosthetic limbs to those who have lost their limbs to whatever cause at all, not just leprosy.
“And we are grateful that we have support from the Australian government, the Swedish government to make these provisions.
“And like you know, mobility is life, if you cannot move, there is no life there. we are so happy that we can make that happen through this initiative.
“We have a workshop in Minna fully equipped, where we produce bespoke, tailored to the person. We have to make sure it fits properly, that is the only way that they can enjoy it and fulfill their lives.
“What we have for now is for 50 persons and hopefully we look to expand for more people to benefit so that we can actually make a difference in people’s lives,” Udo said.
Mr Matthew Mechan, Australian Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria said that the initiative aims to break all barriers and difficulties encountered by persons with disabilities so that they can live like every other person
Mechan said that he Australian government through the Leprosy Mission Australia works very closely with leprosy Mission Nigeria to treat persons with tropical diseases, and restore hope to those with disabilities.
“Through this programme and it has been able to help people with a number of different things ranging from like today’s event where we are providing the prosthetics for people who have need for them.
“One thing I also wanted addressing is the stigmas attached to people with disabilities or still suffered from a disease like leprosy. These are not anything to be ashamed of, they are something that are treatable, very curable.
“And we can help these people through simple initiatives like what we are doing today to have the access and the ability to take part in normal life.
“They can get a job, they can get an education, they can go to the market, they can spend time with their families and friend. These are everyday things but there are these little barriers that are more difficult for people with disability background or suffering a little disease.
“So that is the focus of why we are here today. We want to help these people and we want people to know that there is no reason to discard these people.
“These people are like the rest of us and in many cases, probably more impressive that those of us that are abled body because they have done what many of us have not,” Mechan said.
Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Annika Hahn-Englund said that the initiative is a priority for the Swedish government to ensure dignity for all regardless of any disability.
“This will give the dignity back to the people and it will make them be able to participate in all parts of society and that is what human rights is all about.
“The rights for everybody to participate, be part of the society. And I think with this project that will help. This is a good project,” Englund said.
Happiness Peter, a 13-year-old student who lost her limb when she was hit by a vehicle at five years said she was grateful to TLMN and all the sponsors for making her get “new legs”
Peter said the outreach was timely as her parents were already saddled with the burden of paying her fees into the Senior Secondary Class and getting a new limb.
“I feel happy, especially with the fact that my parents were trying to get a new one for me and planning to send me to school because I will be resuming in SS1.
“I feel happy and grateful to the people,” Peter said.
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