Madagascar: Going the extra mile to help people walk again

  • Thierry, a prosthetic/orthotic technician from the Akanin’ny Marary centre in Ambositra, supported by the ICRC’s Special Fund for the Disabled (SFD), prepares a prosthesis for a patient.
  • The Akanin’ny Marary centre runs the most successful limb-fitting and physical rehabilitation service in the country. The SFD provides the centre and its staff with training, technical supervision and significant material support.
  • Christian and Thierry are the only prosthetic/orthotic technicians of their level in the whole of Madagascar. They were sent to Togo by the SFD for training at the International Society for Protheses and Orthoses.
  • Thierry and Christian work meticulously to adjust the socket of an artificial limb. Every detail must be checked as it has to be flawless if the patient is to avoid discomfort.
  • Elisabeth, who lost her left leg in an explosion in January 2014 in Tananarive, tries on a pair of ballet flats. From now on, she will wear this kind of shoes and her prosthetic leg will be adapted accordingly.
  • Elisabeth practises shifting her weight from one leg to the other and tries to walk with her new prosthesis, with the help of the physiotherapists.
  • “Should I push you?” teases Solenne, an SFD physiotherapist, making Elisabeth burst out laughing during an exercise on the bars.
  • In line with the SFD’s multidisciplinary approach, Elisabeth is seen by both physiotherapists and technicians at the same time. Together, they identify the different points on the prosthesis needing adjustment during the re-casting and tightening-up processes. A patient’s success in learning to walk depends above all on the quality of the artificial limb and on a series of weight-bearing and balance exercises.
  • With her new prosthesis, Elisabeth can now walk unaided.
  • The majority of patients seen by the limb-fitting and physical rehabilitation service are children with clubfoot, cerebral palsy or paraplegia, but adults also come to consult a specialist and be fitted.
  • The Akanin’ny Marary centre facilitates access to health-care for people with disabilities who are most marginalized, namely women, children and inhabitants of remote rural areas.
  • People flock to the centre from across the region for an initial consultation or check-up on a drop-in clinic day.
18 December 2014

The Akanin'ny Marary ("Home for the Sick") centre in Ambositra runs a successful limb-fitting and physical rehabilitation service, with support from the ICRC's Special Fund for the Disabled. Patients come from all over the region seeking consultations as a result of clubfoot, cerebral palsy and amputation. These photographs show the laudable work carried out at the centre and the huge demand for its services.

Photos: CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Narindra Rakotonanahary