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Many Challenges Ahead for Haitian Amputees

Many Challenges Ahead for Haitian Amputees

By Kevin Caruso

January 27, 2010

At least 2,000 people required amputations because of the Haiti earthquake, estimates Handicap International, and Haiti is a very difficult country for amputees to reside in.

Many Haitians get around by foot or bicycle. And wheelchairs, canes, and crutches are hard to come by.

Additionally, most roads and sidewalks are either in poor condition or non-existent.

“What I fear is that if I can't walk, I can't go to school and I can't go to church," said a boy who lost his foot in the earthquake. Without his foot, he said, he can't pedal his bike to church or school.

"It's not an environment which is conducive to mobility for people who are not able to walk for a variety of reasons," said Stephanie Stuart, director of Handicap International UK. “Amputees may have trouble getting to work.”

Young amputees face a similar challenge: they may be unable to attend school. And with a lack of education and a disability, life will be very challenging.

So nonprofit organizations have been working to assist the amputees.

Physicians for Peace has begun to collect crutches, canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and prosthetics. And they plan on establishing a prosthesis production facility in Haiti.

And Handicap International says they will produce between 300 and 400 emergency prostheses in the next six months to cover the need until patients can receive more permanent ones.

And, hopefully the Haitian government will implement programs to assist the amputees – they will need all the help they can get.


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