As the Change Makers editions of the Globacom-sponsored CNN African Voices began yesterday, the thrust of the 30-minute magazine programme will be the dexterities of Nigerian artificial limb makers who have given hope to some clients with limbs problems.
Viewers of the programme will find the story of Crystal Chigbu, Nigerian prosthetics maker, and Gbolahan Sasona another limb restorer fascinating as Crystal narrates the experience of how her daughter’s congenitally malformed limb had to be amputated.
Crystal, a mother of two, weathered the storm and rose from the trauma of the monumental misfortune to found and nurture a Foundation, named Irede Foundation which, as the Chief Executive, has navigated it to 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.
The 2002 Biochemistry graduate of University of Lagos recounts with emotion the trauma, shock, and the challenges that she went through when the reality of having to raise a daughter who was born with congenital limb deformity dawned on her, the most harrowing being the process and struggles she and her husband went through while trying to make a decision on whether to amputate or not.
“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”, she disclosed.”
According to her, “We understand that children can help educate their friends in school; that way we can educate a whole nation – and we can reduce societal stigmatisation. 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.”
In recognition and appreciation of her humane activities, Crystal 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.
The second guest, Gbolahan Sasona, a Prosthetist and Orthotist, is the President of America-based Delta Orthopaedic Laboratory. In addition, he 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, the first of its kind in Nigeria, brags 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. Sasona’s clinical laboratories in Dover and New Jersey, USA, employ advanced technology with an advanced medical rehabilitation centre that provides prosthetic services including sport orthotic, limbs/elbow/finger replacement with bionics.
“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”, he boasted.
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CNN Crystal Chigbu