Prostheses made in Burundi change lives

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Disabled Burundians no longer need to buy foreign prosthesis that are often very expensive. The Patrick Ngoga foundation manufactures splints, and other orthopaedic support devices.

A revolution is underway for disabled people in Burundi. In this building housing the Patrick Ngoga foundation, anyone can find crutches, splints, prosthesis and other orthopaedic support devices.

Founder Mr Ngoga suffered an accident during his childhood that impacted his sciatic nerve and left him handicapped.

After three years spent in Japan to study prosthetics and Orthotics, he is back in Burundi. His goal is to help fellow disabled citizens: "Before I completed my training, we had to go abroad to find prosthesis. Nowadays, we don’t need to travel to find affordable ones any more. Many people need prosthesis. Today, prosthetic feet are manufactured in Burundi and patients can buy them at lower prices."

It is fitting day for Chartier Bimenyimana. The man suffered a car accident. He is one of the many people who’ve had their lives transformed by the work of the foundation. "I am very happy. For the past four years, I have been walking with crutches and no pants on. Thanks to this, I can start wearing pants again."

On the national level, associations gathering disabled people have witnessed the positive impact of the foundation. Eugene Nsabayezu, the president of the National Paralympic Committee explains: "Most disabled people come from poor families and they cannot afford prosthesis or any orthopaedic support. If you try to estimate a price, it cost about 1 million or 1 million and a half franc. I can testify that the Ngoga Foundation helps hundreds of people to finally get orthopaedic implants that improve their mobility."

Only one rehabilitation center existed before the Patrick Ngoga foundation was launched. The few people who could afford the prosthesis had to pay out some five thousand US dollars.

If the exact number of disabled people in the Southern African country isn’t known, the prostheses made in Burundi have already been life-changing for many.

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