Indian group to supply synthetic limbs to injured in Syria

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by Pankaj Yadav

NEW DELHI, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) — A leading social organization in India will soon be providing artificial limbs, free of cost, to victims of ongoing violence in war-torn country Syria.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to this effect has been signed between the “Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS)” and the Syrian aid body – “Saint James the Mutilated (SJM)”.

India’s BMVSS is famous for providing the artificial limb Jaipur Foot, a prosthesis named after the Jaipur city (capital of western state Rajasthan) where it was developed in 1970. The “Jaipur Foot” stimulates natural limb functions like walking, squatting, sitting, running and climbing.

Speaking with Xinhua, founder and chief patron of BMVSS Devendra Raj Mehta said that an agreement has been signed with the SJM, which is the local partner in Syria, and “now we are awaiting permission from our external affairs ministry to go to the war-torn country and set up a camp there.”

He added, “In case we don’t get permission to set up a camp in Damascus, we will operate out of Lebanon and treat Syrian patients there.”

According to Mehta, the head of SJM Mother Agnes, who provides food to around 25,000 homeless people in Syria every day, personally visited his organization last week and decided to engage the BMVSS for providing artificial limbs to the needed people in Syria.

An English daily The Times of India quoted SJM’s Mother Agnes as saying that there were at least 100,000 people, including civilians and defense personnel, who have been wounded in the ongoing civil war in Syria. Most of them have lost one or more limbs.

“A camp will be organised within six months to rehabilitate the first batch of 500 amputees in the first phase,” she said.

Mehta, a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, further stated that his organization had set up as many as 70 camps in around 30 countries, providing free-of-cost artificial limbs to the injured, including in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, etc.

“So far we have provided over 600,000 artificial limbs to the needy across the world, most of whom are from India. The specialty of Jaipur Foot developed and provided by our organization is that it takes only one day and the patient is ready for activities like walking and cycling, if the surgery is done below the knee. For limbs provided at the knee joint or above the knee, the patient becomes fit to walk in 2-3 days,” Mehta told Xinhua. Enditem

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