Bionic limbs lift Gaza amputees’ self-esteem

Published April 20, 2022
Ahmed Abu Hamda, who lost his right hand in 2007, is shown how to use his newly-installed myoelectric limb at Gaza’s Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani Rehabilitation and Prosthetics Hospital.—Reuters
Ahmed Abu Hamda, who lost his right hand in 2007, is shown how to use his newly-installed myoelectric limb at Gaza’s Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani Rehabilitation and Prosthetics Hospital.—Reuters

GAZA: A “smart” prosthetic hand that mimics human anatomy and motion has allowed Ahmed Abu Hamda to play with his children and regain self esteem, part of a new project in Gaza Strip, where conflict with Israel has left hundreds of Palestinians without limbs.

Since March, a Qatari-funded hospital in Gaza has been providing myoelectric prostheses, motorised devices powered by batteries and controlled by electrical signals generated by muscles.

Hamda, 36, lost his right hand in 2007 when unexploded ordnance detonated. He is now able to play with his two children, eat, drink and do home repairs with his newly-installed myoelectric limb, he said.

“Since I got the limb my outer appearance improved, people don’t recognise I have an amputated hand,” he said at Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani Hospital for Rehabilitation and Prosthetics.

“At home, I can drink water, and if I go to the market I can hold sacks and the mobile phone,” the satellite dish installer said.

The project is the first of its kind in the Palestinian territories. So far, 21 amputees in Gaza have received “smart” limbs, with another 40 on the waiting list, hospital officials said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross lists at least 1,600 amputees among Gaza’s population of two million people. Assalama Charitable Society, which cares for wounded and disabled people, said 532 Gazans had lost limbs in the conflict with Israel.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2022

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