Approximately 68 patients at the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre, who have lost limbs due to a health condition or trauma, will be the first to receive prosthetics under the Government’s ‘New Limb’ programme.
The $50-million programme, allows qualified persons to be provided with properly fitted artificial limbs, enabling them to return to optimal productivity and social participation. The Ministry is partnering with the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) to provide the prosthetic devices.
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Tufton, who visited with patients and staff at the Sir John Golding
Rehabilitation Centre in St Andrew on Thursday (June 8), told JIS News that ‘New Life, New Limb’ aims to support persons who cannot afford to acquire a prosthetic leg or arm.
He said that the programme will provide beneficiaries a second chance “to re-engage life in as fulsome a way as possible”.
Tufton explained that more than 90 per cent of the approximately 300 Jamaicans who lose a limb each year, do so due to non-communicable diseases (NCD), particularly diabetes, which is also known as sugar.
“We are here to help you, but we are also here to tell a bigger story about diabetes and why it is dangerous and [about the] lifestyle choices, the foods that you eat, the excessive alcohol, the stress, so that as Jamaicans we know how to prevent [them],” he said.
Tufton noted that the ‘New Limb, New Life’ programme supports the ‘KnowYourNumbers’ initiative, which is aimed at getting Jamaicans to do regular screenings to know their health status and modify their behaviour to reduce illness and premature death.
The Minister commended the work being done by the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre, which he noted, is the primary institution that caters to amputees.
“Without this institution, many people would not have options and so we are happy that they are here, and they are doing their work,” he said.
Senior Medical Officer, Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre, Dr Rory Dixon, told JIS News that patients are referred from hospitals throughout the island, as the institution is the only public health facility that caters to persons with amputations.
“When patients come in, we assess them to make sure that the stump is in a proper state for the fitting of a prosthetic limb.
“We also ensure that the other leg is in good condition because for persons, especially with diabetes, we want to make sure that they make the necessary adjustments so that the diabetes is controlled to preserve the other leg. Because as long as they are diabetic and they do not exercise proper control, proper diet, they are at risk at losing the other leg,” he explained.
Dixon said that patients were also evaluated for conditions such as poor circulation, heart conditions, among others, and all persons, who were assessed, met the criteria for the fitting of prosthetics. “That will be the next process,” he noted.
The Centre, which was established in 1954 by British Orthopaedic Surgeon, Sir John Golding, in response to the devastating impact of polio on the island, has become the only integrated treatment and rehabilitation facility for the physically disabled in the English-speaking Caribbean.