150 amputees get free artificial limbs » Manila Bulletin News



By Jaimie Rose Aberia and Charina Clarisse Echaluce

Hundreds of amputees, including 14 soldiers who fought in Marawi City, received free prosthetic limbs from an international aid organization.

Government soldiers stand guard in front of damaged buildings and houses in Marawi City.

The distribution of 150 “Jaipur limbs” was made possible by Mahaveer Philippines Foundation, Inc. (MPFI) which is celebrating its 28th year.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi, who is in the country for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, graced the anniversary program which was held at the Museum of a History of Ideas at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Compund. He was joined by MPFI founder Dr. Veerendra Mehta.

Designed in India, the low-cost artificial limbs are quick to fit and “cosmetically close to a normal human limb.”

MPFI board member and former 5th District councilor Felix Espiritu said most of the 150 beneficiaries are men as “they are more prone to accidents and the older ones are mostly diabetic.”

This is not the first time the foundation has made such a donation to soldiers who lost their limbs defending the country.  “We owe it to them,”  MPFI president Enrique Lim said.

The prosthetic legs and arms can cost around P25,000 to P100,000. Anyone can receive a free leg from the foundation, Lim said.  “We help anybody who comes and asks for help — rich or poor, whatever religion.”

“This is ongoing, non-stop. We have centers at the Philippine Orthopedic, PGH, and in Zamboanga,” Espiritu said.

Mehta began doing charity works after his wife Vimla met a 19-year-old parking attendant without a leg at the Pasay Vegetable Market in 1985.

After finding out that the young man cannot afford an artificial limb, Mehta’s wife decided to bring the Jaipur Foot, an above-knee prosthesis designed and fabricated from high-quality polyethylene pipes, to Manila.

The MPFI was established in 1989 through the help of then mayor Ramon Bagatsing.

Around 10,000 Filipinos have benefited from the program since its establishment.

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