Dante Chumacero, Director
La paz, La Paz
(+591) 7720 6342 (Phone)
Type of Organization
Type: Under Bolivian law
Regions: South America
Specific cities, regions, or groups of people: All of Bolivia. For low income amputees
Fees Charged: Sometimes
Prosthetic Fitting, Prosthetic Fabrication, Rehabilitation / Training
There is a facility/physical building for patient care at the specified location.
Accomodations for volunteers near or at the specified location.
Volunteers: Prosthetists, Technicians, Lay Persons, Therapists, Other: mechanical skills
Materials, Components, and Equipment: New, Equipment, Used, Other: PVA, EVA, Polypro
General Background Information
Founded in 2010 by Matthew pepe
Total volunteers to date: 150
Annual average volunteer participation: 25
Total recipients of care to date: 110
Annual average recipients of care: 50
Organization does NOT provide funding for volunteers.
Volunteer needs to raise individual funds for all expenses.
Currently and Historically, the organization's funding and contributions have come from:
To make and provide the best quality prosthetic to all low income Bolivian amputees.
Additional Information & Comments
We need volunteers, training, materials and financial support to continue our effort. We currently are only about to provide AK and BK prosthetics but some day we would like to offer arm prosthetics. We currently fit about 50 patients per year but we would like to go to the point where we could accommodate 100 to 200 patients each year.
We also speak English and Spanish.
We started this program in 1994 when we paid to send a Bolivian prosthetic technician to India to get training with the Mukti Foundation (www.muktiindia.org). When that technician returned to Bolivia to start practicing for us our novel prosthesis program was launched.
Since that year, and every year after, our Bolivian technician ( an amputee himself) has been making prostheses for us which we then provided, without charge, to needy Bolivian patients. We advertise the program around the region, and then we select roughly 25 candidates each year, depending on our funding. Then during a one month intensive program we measure, make and fit the 25 prostheses.
And that has been the scale of our operation for these past 15 years. Although it may sound simple by others standards, we know that we have performed a great service for the amputee population of Bolivia who otherwise could never have afforded a prosthesis. But this year, 2011, we want to begin to do even more and so we are planning to expand our program substantially in both the number of patients we will fit and the technology we will use.
We are partnering with the Le Tourneau University in the United States (www.legsforall.com), and they will provide us with training in the production, fitting and rehabilitation of their polycentric knee design free of charge. Our clinic will be their sole training clinic for all of South America and any technicians in our continent can come to us to learn how to make these knees also. A team of engineers, technicians and prosthetists will arrive from Le Tourneau at our clinic to begin this training on January 2011.
We are also receiving detailed technical advice and from the Prosthetic Outreach Foundation based in Seattle Washington (www.pofsea.org).
In addition to this major improvement in the quality of our prosthetic limbs, we are also expanding the program to be active 365 days a year with a target of 50 patients in the first full year of operation. Future plans include increasing the number of patients we can help every year thereafter with every better and a wider variety of prosthesis solutions.
In order to expand our program, we will need to raise more funds. Unfortunately, despite how excited the government is to help these under-served amputees, they have no money to put into this project to support us. In fact they have always relied on OUR Rotary club to pay for the few prostheses that have been provided in the past since they could never afford their own.
Yet all this improvement will not take a tremendous amount of money. For example, a single above-the-knee prosthetic leg of ours, incorporating a fully functional poly-centric knee from Le Tourneau and with a SACH foot (all locally produced) will have a total production cost of approximately $500 for parts, labor, material, utilities, and all other costs. With our goal being 50 patients per year at a minimum our one year budget is $25,000. We will give these prostheses away for free to those who are the most in need and those who can afford to pay a little will be asked to do so to offset the total cost of the program.
Further into the future we also hope, and expect, to be able to offer low-cost durable upper limb prostheses.