Eight-year-old Morium Aktar Mim used to remain dispirited most of the time because she could not walk like her friends.
To bring smile to her face, her father Mohammad Joynal Abedin -- a rickshaw-van puller -- had purchased a prosthetic leg for Tk 5,000 three years ago from a roadside shop in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar. But it became defective about a year ago.
Yesterday, as a technician at Nitor was taking measurements for a new prosthetic leg for her, Mim was all smiles.
“I saw news on television that prosthetic legs would be given away among the underprivileged, so I came here,” said Joynal, who lives in Gazipur. He was among 50 people who gathered at National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (Nitor) yesterday.
Indian High Commission, in association with Nitor and Bangladesh Orthopaedic Society, is holding Jaipur Foot Artificial Limb Fitment Camp to provide 500 prosthetic legs to those in need in Bangladesh, on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.
Mehedi Hasan Rony, 24, lost his left leg under the wheel of a bus about one and a half years ago in Khulna.
“The accident turned my life upside down,” he said during a test walk at the corridor of Nitor.
“I’m happy. I can walk again,” Mehedi.
While inaugurating the programme, Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das said, “I hope the artificial legs will bring changes to all beneficiaries’ lives,” Saying that most of the people have lost their legs in road crashes, she underscored the need for taking initiatives to reduce accidents in future.
Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samity (BMVSS) is making the prosthetic legs.
While taking measurements of Khadem Ali, who lost both legs about 12 years ago, BMVSS technician Sudama Rai said it took them one and a half hours to install an artificial leg on a person.
Asked about the durability of the prosthetic legs, he said, “Each [prosthetic leg] lasts about three years. If you use shoes, it will last longer.”
Dr Md Wahidur Rahman, secretary general of Bangladesh Orthopaedic Society, said they have already installed 300 prosthetic legs. “Two hundred more will be installed,” he said, adding that distribution of 750 more will begin from November 4.