John is one of hundreds
John's left leg was amputated just centimeters below his knee. On his first day of kindergarten, the other students teased him for having to shuffle along on his forearms and knees. He begged his mother to let him stay home from school afterwards. When we fit him with a prosthesis four years ago, he was so withdrawn that he wouldn’t look at us.
We’ve seen him every year since to upgrade his prosthesis, and he’s blossomed into the valedictorian of his elementary school class and an avid basketball player. John is just one of the hundreds of patients Human Engineers, Inc. has worked with over the past 4 years.
The need for Human Engineers Inc.
In the Philippines, there is a growing epidemic of amputations from diabetes, motorcycle accidents, and farming accidents. Losing a limb often means a loss of livelihood. Unfortunately, there are currently not enough healthcare providers trained to provide the necessary care. In some regions of the Philippines, there are 15 times fewer orthopedic surgeons per capita than in the US. Furthermore, a prosthetic limb costs between $3,000-$50,000, whereas the average annual income per household is just $3,500.
What we do
To prepare for each mission, we spend six months collecting donations, training volunteers, and coordinating logistics with our contacts in hospitals and communities of the Philippines. On the mission, our team can fit up to 20 patients per day with prosthetic limbs.
Our ultimate goal is to build a sustainable system for patients to access prosthetic care. Even the best built prostheses wear down, and although we run multiple missions each year, there may be situations where our patients are unable to fix broken components on their own. The first step is to educate local medical professionals. We piloted our first program this past November, where we trained 15 physical therapists in Tarlac of the Philippines to build and fit prostheses for patients. By the end of the mission, the physical therapists could troubleshoot any issues that arose for their patients.
"Thank you for creating a brighter future, not only with the knowledge you shared, but also your compassion and patience for the welfare of my people." - Niza M. Dela Cruz, Physical Therapist, Tarlac, Philippines
Our impact and future
Our goal is to provide patients with the necessary tools and skills to improve their way of life. Over the past 4 years, we have completed 10 missions, treating over 300 people across 3 regions of the Philippines. Our patients have been able to go back to work or school and find new vitality in their lives. We know that we can do so more. With your support, we can expand our missions to more hospitals, provide care for more patients who require custom prostheses, develop our education initiatives to create a sustainable environment for prosthetic care, and ultimately treat more patients like John. Please join us in our mission to improve prosthetic care in the Philippines. We thank you in advance for your support!
"I'll never give up. They say that I am the first amputee diver in Asia!" - Howard