One of the characteristics of living things is movement. Mobility is needed in order to keep up with one's daily activities. One needs to move from the house to the school, office, places of worship, market and every other place in order to keep up with various activities. The need and usefulness of mobility cannot be over emphasized and of course there is a joy that comes with motion.
Over the years, mobility has gained credence and is now a contemporary paradigm in the social sciences that explores the movement of people, things and ideas. Sadly, some people have lost the ability to move. This could be as a result of an accident, war or the aftermath or a disease or illness. Immobility, often through the loss of a limb is one of the most upsetting and traumatic experience an individual can go through. It also has profound implications for the individual psychologically as well as on their appearance and their capability. This is particularly difficult as the individual loses the ability to walk, run, or even jump normally while at the same time hugely altering the person's self-image.
Such individuals then depend on equipment and people to aid mobility. Some use clutches or need the assistance of others when walking, and in extreme cases, wheelchairs. This was the case of Hosea Gajere who lost one of his limbs in a road accident.
Hosea Gajere who resides in Kaduna was travelling to a neighboring town with his brother and the cyclist when the accident occurred. Upon waking up at a hospital, he felt an itch in his leg and when he reached to scratch it, he discovered that his leg had been cut off. Hosea was distraught. He felt his life had come to an end. He didn't know what to do, how to go about his daily business as he worked as a farmer and a building assistant before the accident. Hosea didn't know how he will be able to take care of his widowed mother and brother, or even how to further his education. For him, the loss of his leg was the loss of his life.
Luckily for Hosea, he was nominated for the Airtel Touching Lives programme, a social investment project from Nigeria's leading telecommunication service provider, Airtel Nigeria, which aims to help the downtrodden in the society. This revolutionary initiative which is broadcast through the Touching Lives TV series, has set the standard in needs –based CSR and set in motion an unstoppable cycle of giving that presented several individuals and communities with the foundation to build their dreams and fulfill their aspirations. Watch Airtel Touching Lives video here http://www.brandcrunch.com.ng/bnrch/index.php/csr/2048-airtel-touching-lives-humane-inspiring#.VW0JoLlViko
Season one of Airtel touching lives series addressed a wide spectrum of issues ranging from cerebral palsy to functional blindness, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS; while highlighting how the less-privileged in the society are empowered to actualize their dreams.
Asides the less privileged, the show also touches the lives of millions of Nigerians by inculcating in them the spirit of giving in order to contribute to the wellbeing of their fellow Nigerians.
In Airtel's unique way of touching lives, the telco giant provided Hosea with a prosthetic leg and three months physiotherapy sessions to help him adjust to living with his condition and teaching him to walk again.
The delighted Hosea Gajere thanked Airtel Nigeria for giving him a chance to walk and live again. He explained that the prosthetic leg will help return his life back to normalcy. It will enable him do things he did before his accident and also take care of his widowed mother who has been through a lot.
"It's like they have given me my leg back. I know this sounds strange but with this leg, I can walk as far as I want and carry out my daily activities just like before, especially without the help of anybody. With this leg, there is no limit for me" Hosea Gajere said.
For Hosea the prosthetic leg also helped him regain his confidence. Before, he looked different and with the prosthetic leg he will no longer stand out in the crowd as the man with just one limb.
Hosea Gajere, an amputee has been able to get a prosthetic leg, but the underlying fact here is how many amputees are able to get prosthetic legs to walk again? Statistics from the United States reveal that the total number of amputees living in the US is about 1.7 million. Records also reveal the reason for these amputations. 69% of amputations are due to vascular diseases including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease; 22% are performed due to trauma; 4% of amputations are performed due to congenital anomalies and less than 2% is due to cancer. Amputation of the leg either above or below the knee is also the most common amputation surgery.
In the UK, 5,000 to 6,000 limb amputation surgeries are carried out yearly. The most common reason for amputation is a loss of blood supply to the affected limb, which accounts for 70% of lower limb amputations. Trauma is the most common reason for upper limb amputation and it accounts for 57%. Individuals with diabetes are also at a higher risk of being amputated and the UK also records an increase in British troops who has lost a limb or two due to wars.
Other reasons for amputation in the US and UK could be as a result from factory, farm, power tool accidents, or from motor vehicle accidents. Natural disasters, war, and terrorist attacks can also lead to amputations.
Sadly in Nigeria there is no comprehensive data to ascertain the statistics of amputees. However, what is certain is that with a population of over 160 million people, Nigeria currently boasts of three orthopedic hospitals with only a handful of trained prosthetics and orthotics consultants. This is without a doubt, proof that thousands of amputated Nigerians are not able to not only benefit from the relief physiotherapy and occupational therapy offer, but also prosthetic limbs to alleviate their condition.
Nonetheless, the global advancement of technology has also aided the advancement of prosthetics which has helped transform the lives of amputees. Prosthetic limbs have become increasingly sophisticated and can reproduce many functions of the hands, arms and legs. New prosthetics to replace limbs and in particular lower limbs however show great promise for helping patients to recover some semblance of their previous mobility as well as helping them to cope psychologically with the loss.
With a country like Nigeria where the minimum income wage is put at eighteen thousand Naira (N18,000.00), it is also an uphill task for its citizenries to afford prosthetic legs or limbs as a whole because their prices range from $5000 (N1,000,000.00) for the basic and as much as $70,000 (N14,000,000.00) for the computerized devices. That is not the only cost accrued with getting prosthetic legs because asides the consultant fee, patients also need physical therapy and occupational therapy and this can run up to thousands of naira. Not to mention the fact that a prosthetic leg will likely need to be replaced several times during a patient's lifetime and patients need ongoing adjustments.
Due to the capital intensive nature involved in getting prosthetic legs, organizations are now sourcing for new ways to create affordable prosthetic legs without sacrificing quality. While companies all around the globe still look for ways to make cheap, durable prosthetic legs that can withstand humid climates, thus suitable for developing countries, we will forever remain grateful to large organizations like Airtel Nigeria, who go out of their way to touch several lives by providing prosthetic legs for the common man and making the world a better place.