Friday, January 27, 2017

The Jaipur Limb and Foot

I arose this morning with anticipation. Anticipation which I haven't felt for many years. Our first stop was at the Amer Palace (sometimes called either the Amber Palace or the Palace of Mirrors).  It was a wonderful morning, one of which I will blog later. More pressing in my heart and in my mind, however, the source of my anticipation, is the tour of the Jaipur Limb Factory.

You see, I joined Rotary over 32 years ago, just a few months before the announcement of "PolioPlus"! Hence, I have lived over half of my life as a Rotarian on a march, a campaign, to rid the world of 12 terrible diseases, the most hideous being POLIO! Since that first introduction of PolioPlus, I have been hearing of the Jaipur Limb. Oh, I knew what it was from the start, how it changes lives, but to ever think that I would travel to Jaipur, and enter the factory's gates was beyond comprehension... Until, literally, this morning.  

The Rotary Clubs around Jaipur distribute around 7,000 limbs per year, mostly around Jaipur, but also in traveling camps all over the planet. To date, over a half million limbs have been fashioned. At a rate of over 120 patients a day who walk, or hobble, into the clinic, from all over. And it's all free of charge.  Rotarians, DOW Chemical, and other benefactors fund the cost. Each limb costs $50, and if you add the knee joint, it's another $20, or $US70. And it's not like an American site. People come in the morning, and literally 'walk' away the same day with their new limb.  If it should take more than one day (maximum three days), they take care of the food and lodging needs of the patients and the family member with whom the patient is traveling. For instance, a patient was asked by the administrator today how much money he had with him and he said, "Six rupees" (less than $1US).

As we entered the factory, we saw people in the waiting room and in the courtyard. 

This mother waited patiently in the courtyard with her son.

Then, as we progressed through the factory, we saw people at each state of the manufacturing process. Craftsmen, volunteers, taking gauze and Plaster of Paris, adding plastic plumbing pipe, heated to be pliable, to form a limb. Then, concurrently, other craftsmen are using hard foam rubber, black tire like rubber strips, then flesh colored rubber strips, to fashion a lifelike foot, which is then 'galvanized' in a heated chamber to produce a very workable foot to go on the end of the limb.

The following pictures will hopefully assist my readers in more fully grasping the Jaipur Foot & Limb, and assist in understanding its importance in Rotary's over 3 decade march to rid the world of that dreaded Polio disease.

Such rudimentary equipment to produce such an astounding result-The Jaipur Limb!

Real time-as we visited fitting for a new limb.

Wrapping the stump for the transfer cast, and marking all pressure points.

A volunteer demonstrating the durability of the limb by 'whacking' it against a vise.

The completed limb, in less than an hour.

This man demonstrated his total dexterity with his artificial limb.

The 4th gen "Stanford" knee. They did not patent it, so that the Jaipur Limb factory may use it freely.

Amazing that these volunteers work day after day to produce a prosthesis for so many people who would basically be otherwise immobile.

These shots are from the 'foot' factory room of the clinic.  Start to finish, the Jaipur foot.

Most of our team had heard of the Jaipur foot and limb, but back to the bus, some were wondering how it played into our journey, having not experienced the life saving product in their Rotary careers. On a more purely personal note, Kim was not prepared for the amazement she had in visiting the factory. I'd tried to explain, but one can't explain fully some things... They must be seen to fully grasp their significance.
Volunteer showing the locking action of the Stanford knee.

As I compose this blog for the day, I just received an email from Debra Lowe, the Senior Major Gift Officer for RI Zone 34.  On World Polio Day, 24 October, Tommy and Chantal Bagwell, members of the Rotary Club of Forsyth County, in Kim's and My home District 6910, made an Arch Klumph gift directly to President John Germ while he was in Atlanta for World Polio Day at the Centers for Disease Control.  Debra's email just announced that Tommy and Chantal have allocated their ENTIRE gift to END POLIO NOW.  Thank you, Tommy and Chantal, and it is a double blessing to come on the day of Governor Kim's and my visit to the Jaipur Limb Factory in India.  

AND... with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation two for one match, The Bagwell's gift amounts to THREE QUARTERS OF A MILLION US DOLLARS TO END POLIO NOW!