Access to Prosthetic Devices in Developing Countries: Pathways and Challenges
Martin Marino, Shaan Pattni, Max Greenberg, Alex Miller, Emma Hocker, Sarah Ritter and Khanjan Mehta
IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference
Marino, M., Pattni, S., Greenberg, M., Miller, A., Hocker, E, Ritter, S., Mehta, K., “Access to Prosthetic Devices in Developing Countries: Pathways and Challenges,” IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, Seattle, WA, Oct 2015
As the number of amputees continues to grow in low-resource settings, their demand for prosthetic devices continues to be unmet. Consequently, these amputees face exhausting physical, emotional, and economic challenges like navigating unfriendly terrain, emotional trauma, loss of income, and social rejection, all on a daily basis. While there have been attempts to meet this demand, the challenges in doing so are difficult and complex. Many organizations, including governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and private entities, are trying to deliver low-cost and durable prostheses to amputees. However, all of these organizations face a wide array of challenges related to infrastructure, technology and business in achieving this goal. With numerous distribution approaches used amongst these organizations in low-resource settings, little has been done to provide a comprehensive study of major distribution pathways and their respective challenges. This article presents the current pathways and challenges in delivering prostheses to amputees through a rigorous analysis of current organizations’ approaches and the existing infrastructure in low-resource settings. The end goal of this article is to enable the reader to thoroughly understand the available options and obstacles to deliver prostheses in low-resource settings.