STAND Center in Dodoma

Marc final fitting tailor-made prosthesis


Project Managers: Marc & Dominique Desruisseaux and John Farquharson

STAND (TZ) is a Non Governmental Organization operating in Tanzania that produces and fits prostheses to amputees free-of-charge, utilizing volunteers who receive vocational training as technicians. The program includes counseling to help the amputee regain their sense of dignity.

The number of amputees has escalated in Tanzania in recent years, due to snakebites, road and wildlife accidents, as well as diabetes and cancer. Because such victims generally belong to the economically poorer sector of society, they are the main recipients of STAND's help, as in this way it allows amputees the opportunity to pursue a normal life after the traumatic experience of losing a limb.

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On-the-Job Youth Training Program


Arthur being instructed on how to make a cast

John shaving cast before lamination process

Receiving instruction on "shaving" the mold

Priya concentrating on tying pipe over mold

Mike, student trainee, shaving the HDPE pipe

Kiran baking the HDPE plastic at 400 degrees

Kiran sliding the hot HDPE pipe over the mold

Marc doing final fitting tailor-made prosthesis



New Life Through New Limbs


15-year-old Gwamaka lost both his left
leg and his left arm when the bus he was
riding in was hit by a truck.

Gwamaka now has returned to school,
after receiving his free prosthetic, as
well as school uniforms and fees.

Patrick traveled from Iringa, 120 miles, to our
center for free prosthetic and fitting.

Ready to return home with prosthesis, now
better able to support his family as a vendor.


How Prosthetic Limbs are Made


A cast is made, extended with a soft plastic sheet
and tied in a tapered manner. In the center of this
form is a steel reinforcement rod. In this photo, former STAND volunteer holds the bottom part of the extension so as to restrict the plaster from leaking out. The plaster
dries in five minutes.

Here the cast is shaped to make it appear
like a natural leg. Chisels are used to shave
the plaster and get it as smooth as possible.
Note the dip on the mold, which is a key pressure
point on the back of the leg, which allows for a firm comfortable fit for the amputee.

Marc and a technician covering, or “laminating”
a finished plaster mold with a High Density
Polyethylene (HDPE) pipe, soft enough to
take the shape of the mold. Once it is left to
cool for an hour, we break up the plaster inside
by hitting the very resistant HDPE pipe with
metal bars.

Shaping HDPE plastic into prosthetic
limb.The lower cut is where the leg will bend
for a comfortable sitting position. The other
side is smoothly notched inward so the kneecap
will rest on it. Despite modern technology
available, broken glass still proves to be the
best tool for shaving.

Marc checking that the prosthetic limb is
comfortable for the patient. We put a thin
cotton sock over the stump for comfort and to
eliminate perspiration. We also add thin,
3mm foam on the inside edges for comfort.
Once this is done, a small leather belt is
fastened to the top of the prosthetic.

The last step: Marc heating up the bottom
of the prosthetic so as to add the rubber foot.
The foot is layered with different rubbers
imported from India. The prosthetic limb is
now ready. It is lightweight, very durable and
resistant to hard hits, and the foot will last 2
years before being replaced.

A new patient practices walking on her new
limb. They need encouragement, reassurance
and gentleness to help them cope with the
drastic change. Without any major obstacles,
a patient could come in and leave the same
day with their custom-made prosthetic limb.

After a long day, we recall the obstacles we
encounter here: electrical power cuts, shortages
of water, lack of sponsorship and materials.
But seeing even just one person walk again,
and experiencing their restored dignity, makes
our struggle worth it all!



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