The Jaipur foot, which has enabled thousands of disabled Indians to walk freely, has now travelled to Afghanistan enabling the trouble-torn country to look after many who have lost their limbs during the troubled decade.
In the first instance, some Afghans were given the Jaipur foot in India. As more people became conscious of its use, the demand grew.
The Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (Lord Mahavir Society for the handicapped) which claims to be the biggest provider of artificial limbs, stepped in and placed its services at the disposal of the Afghan government.
Originally developed by a duo-Dr. Pramod Karan Sethi, a fellow of Britain's Royal College of Surgeons and a sculptor Ram Chandra, the main advantage of this prosthesis or artificial leg is its lightness and mobility.
A person fitted with this limb can walk like a normal person without a stick or support, and even run, ride a bicycle and climb a tree because the Jaipur limb has a very comfortable stump socks interface.
Once fitted, the patient can work in fields, factories, shops and offices.
One can even dance, as the Telugu dancer -Sudha Chandran - has demonstrated on stage and films.
The Jaipur foot is mainly made of rubber, wood and aluminum and can be easily assembled. The technology is simple.
"Jaipur foot is the only foot which can work very well in rough terrain and Afghanistan has been a war-torn country for such a long time that they don't have paved roads. So they have to walk on uneven grounds and the Jaipur foot is the most comfortable artificial limb on uneven ground. The Afghans were highly impressed," said Dr. N. K. Mathur, Mahaveer Viklang Samitee.
45-year-old, Ramsahay who lost his both legs in an accident, is presently engaged in producing limbs. He is keen that all Afghans, who lost their limbs in the meaningless strife, should be able to lead a meaningful life.
The Afghanis, especially the devout Muslims, find the Jaipur foot very convenient, as they do not have to remove them before entering Mosque. The limbs produced in Europe cannot be used without shoes and thus cannot be worn during prayers. They are inexpensive too.
The Vikalang Samiti has organized four camps in Kabul with great success. Officials of the NGO say that their products were highly appreciated by the Afghans, as they are light- weight easy to wear, and looks natural.
About 3,000 war victims in Afghanistan have benefited from Jaipur foot till date.
In 1996, the NGO had organized its first "Jaipur Foot" camp in Kabul at the behest of the Indian Foreign Ministry and provided 1,105 artificial limbs.
Vikalang Samiti is keen wants to open a full-fledged permanent office in the war affected Afghanistan; it is waiting for a green signal from the Government of India as also the Kabul authorities. By Lokendra Singh.