Artificial Limb Donors Give Hope to Amputees on CNN Africa

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The story of Crystal Chigbu, Nigerian prosthetics donor, and Gbolahan Sasona a Limb restorer, will be the first to hit the new CNN African Voices Change Makers programme which debuts this Friday. 

For Crystal Chigbu, caring for a child whose congenitally malformed limb had to be amputated was a life-transforming passion.

The  mother of two rose from the trauma of the misfortune to become the Founder  and Chief Executive of Irede Foundation, a body which has gained wide acclaim as  succour-giver to other children whose limbs had been severed due to one health issue or another.

This week on CNN’s magazine programme, African Voices Change Makers, Crystal recounts the tale of initial shock, the devastation and the challenges that greeted the reality of having to raise a daughter who was born with congenital limb deformity and the process and struggles she and her husband went through while trying to make a decision on whether to amputate or not.  

According to the 2002 University of Lagos graduate of Biochemistry, “seeing other children and families go through the same process without a clear view on how to adapt to the challenges of living with limb loss gave vent to the creation of Irede Foundation which has, since inception, restored hope to children living with loss of limbs.” 

“We understand that children can help educate their friends in school; that way we can educate a whole nation – and we can reduce societal stigmatization. 

In addition, when a child starts using prosthesis from childhood you are helping in shaping the beliefs of the child and his or her ability to believe they can do anything. More importantly, they can live their lives to the fullest not minding the limb loss they must have gone through,” she explained.

In appreciation of her  altruistic activities, she  received the Life Transformation Award from Wise Women Awards; the Ebony Life TV sponsored Sisterhood Award for Philanthropist of the year (2014), as well as the  Naija Diamonds Award (2014) sponsored by Diamond Bank.

Similarly, on the programme is a Prosthetist and Orthotist, Gbolahan Sasona.  He is the President of America-based Delta Orthopaedic Laboratory who also established The Ability Prosthetic and Orthotic Centre in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital in the bid to help the transformation of the lives of amputees with prosthetics/orthotics, spinal braces and fracture bracing of different kinds.

The centre which is first of its kind in Nigeria boasts of a rich, computerised prosthetics and orthotics experience and professional medical rehabilitation advocacy of the 67-year-old Sasona whose passion became the catalyst for the passage of the regulatory licensing law for prosthetics practitioners in the United States of America. His clinical laboratories in Dover and New Jersey, USA, employ advanced technology with an advanced medical rehabilitation centre which provides prosthetic services including sport orthotic, limbs/elbow/finger replacement with bionics.

Said he: “patients don’t have to travel to South Africa, United Kingdom, India or United States to be able to get the kind of effective treatment and care they desire. Whatever we do in the Nigerian office is of the same standard with that of the United States”.

CNN African Voices Change Makers will be broadcast on DSTV on Friday at 9.30 a.m., on Saturday at 12.30 a.m., 4.30 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. Other repeat broadcasts come up on Sunday at 5.00 a.m., 9.30 a.m. and 8.30 p.m. with more repeats on Monday and Tuesday at 5.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. respectively.