Prostheses made in El Salvador give disabled people a new opportunity

Rodrigo Sura

San Salvador, Nov 30 (EFE).- Amid plaster mixes, molds, tools, and wearing immaculate white uniforms, a group of students from El Salvador work on making prostheses that allow amputees, such as those disabled by civil war or victims of accidents, to walk again.

The prosthetics students are part of the educational community of Don Bosco University, an institution whose social vision has created the conditions for many Salvadorans to regain mobility.

In 1999, the first graduates of the course designed the first prostheses, which were of great help to the disabled people at the end of the Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992).

According to official figures, the war left more than 75.000 people dead, 8.000 missing, and at least 12.000 disabled.

“We treat patients who were disabled in the war and now many victims of traffic accidents or people who have had a limb amputated due to a pathology such as diabetes,” said Jonathan González, professor at the university and head of the production area, in an interview with EFE.

María Lorena Romero, aged 43, traveled from the city of San Vicente, in central El Salvador, to the university’s facilities in San Salvador to have her transtibial prosthesis renewed.

Her leg was amputated below the knee five years ago due to complications from lupus.

Every patient who requests a prosthesis must undergo a medical assessment, and then a mold is made for the prosthesis, whether it is an arm or a leg.

Quality tests are then carried out before the patient can begin to adapt to their “new limb.”

People who apply for a prosthesis receive it at a lower cost compared to market prices, Jonathan added.

The cost of producing a prosthesis in El Salvador ranges from $900 to $1,200, and most of the materials used to make these artificial body parts are purchased outside the Central American country.

The International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics certification has allowed the center to train technical orthopedic professionals in El Salvador, as well as people from Colombia, Chile, and Mexico through remote learning. EFE


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