Ethiopia: ICRC helps the production of crutches, crutch handles

The Nekemte Physical Rehabilitation Center (PRC), located in Wollega, Oromia region (west Ethiopia), started the production of crutches and crutch handles with the technical and material support from the ICRC.

The production of the stated products has significant importance in helping people with physical disabilities (PWDs) living in Nekemte town and surrounding areas, to get easy access to the products, according to Alemu Wakuma, Manager of the Nekemte Physical Rehabilitation Center.

 An ICRC staff coaching Nekemte PRC's technician on how to make parts of a crutch, Nekemte wheelchair workshop, Oromia Region, 2020. Henok Birhanu/ICRC

PWDs used to spend an estimated 300 ETB per pair of a crutch and 40 ETB per crutch handle before, but now they can get it from the Center for free. This couldn't have been possible had it not been for the ICRC's support,  - said the manager

''The ICRC donated hydraulic injection machine that produces crutches and crutch handles,'' said Philip Morgan, Physical Rehabilitation Program Manager with the ICRC. Adding '' the ICRC has also provided on-the-job-training to its staff enabling the Center to commence the production of the stated products.''

Crutches produced at Nekemte PRC, Nekemte, Oromia Region, 2020. Henok Birhanu/ICRC

The Center uses leftovers that are used for the manufacture of Prosthetic Orthotic devices as raw materials for the production of crutch handles and crutches.
The Center has already begun the production of crutch handles and will commence soon the assembling of crutches. With its current capacity, the Center produces 20 crutch handles and will assemble 10 crutches per week.

In Ethiopia, the ICRC is supporting regional physical rehabilitation services with technical and clinical expertise and imported materials and components. It is also working with pertinent governmental organizations for social inclusion of PWDs.