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The JAIPUR FOOT…….From Sobs to Smiles!


The JAIPUR FOOT…….From Sobs to Smiles!

H.S. is a young man who ekes out a living doing part time jobs. Although his income is meager, a large part of this comes from his ability to climb up trees and gather the fruits. Having lost both his parents to diabetes related complications, he was left at a relatively tender age of 17 years to look after his little sister. H.S., although poor, worked hard enough to look after his sister and at the same time was keeping aside some of his small income for the day when he would be able to marry of his sister in a befitting manner. Unfortunately, at the age of 24 he developed an ulcer on his foot, but living in a remote area, he took the help of some herbal medicines. The infection spread and it was only when his leg was badly swollen and red, did he attend a hospital. Investigations showed him to have diabetes, but in spite of the best efforts possible in the health care setting available to him, the doctors could not save his leg and he had to undergo a below knee amputation. For the type of work he did, this was almost a death sentence. The doctors advised him of the various excellent prosthesis which were available, but each cost what he could earn in 5-7 years! Totally depressed, he even contemplated suicide, but the thought of his sister kept him alive. The problem was that he was alive but what was the future?

And then he met a doctor at a rural health camp who told him a clinic in Jaipur which could help him out and even was kind enough to give him money to go to to Jaipur.

The result…….. he was fitted with the Jaipur foot!

Not only did this cost less than 5% of what most other prosthesis cost, but a charitable organization working closely with the clinic paid for the small amount of money also. Not only that, he was trained in the making of the Jaipur foot and moving his sister to the city, he stared working making and fitting these “feet” for others. To day his sister is happily married, and he does not have to climb trees to earn a living, but is still happy to do so for fun!


Fig 1. H.S. showing his skills at climbing trees….this time just for fun!

Another recent story which comes to mind is that of a farmer Y.G. aged 66 years, who having lost his only son to tuberculosis, was left to look after the whole family, including three young children of his deceased son. Y.G. knew he had diabetes and did take care of to the best extent he could. One day he noticed a cut on his foot. Being in the midst of the harvest season and not having any help on the farm, he kept postponing going to the hospital in spite of the pain in his foot increasing and the foot turning red and becoming swollen. But the time, he did seek medical attention, it was too late and he had to undergo an amputation. Again, the future looked dismal. Fortunately, he was being treated in a town close to Jaipur and he was told about the Jaipur foot. Today, he is back at work in his fields!


Fig 2. Y.G. back at work on his farm

There are many such stories where the Jaipur Foot has turned “Sobs” have turned to “Smiles”.

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