A few grateful citizens were given a new lease on life when they were fitted this week with prosthetic legs by the “Let Them Walk Program” team led by Professor of Surgery & Radiology at the Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Bauer Sumpio, John Hopkins University student, Brandon Sumpio and David Mahler, Prosthetist at New England Orthotic & Prosthetic Systems.
Orthopedic Technician at MSJMC, Alphonso Richardson, who was instrumental in getting the team to Antigua, said: “I was in Trinidad at a “Step by Step” workshop when I initially heard about this program. When I got back home I went into the Ministry and ended up discussing it with the Minister of Health (Hon. Wilmoth Daniel), who was very supportive – And it just took off from there. Professor Sumpio and his team were excited about coming to Antigua. We have been planning this initiative since summer last year and I’m so happy and thankful that it has come to fruition and we were able to offer much needed assistance to the patients and their families.”
Continued Richardson; “A big component of this program included training as well, and myself and a few of my colleagues (orthopedic and rehab) were able to get hands-on training from the team – But I’m just so happy that we’re making a difference in the lives of these patients and thankful for the team behind the Let Them Walk Program.”
Dr. Leslie Walwyn, one of the speakers at a lecture which formed a part of the program, noted that the Step by Step program which is a region-wide initiative spearheaded by the various Health Ministries, is targeted at health care professionals to establish sustainable, integrated and low-cost healthcare capacity for attending to the diabetic foot. This she said, could result in a reduction in lower limb complications and prevent unnecessary amputations in people with diabetes.
‘We realize that offering a comprehensive program of prosthetic management geared towards limb replacement is beyond the capacity of local resources,” said Professor Sumpio. “But there’s a realization that it’s important and that it adds to the quality of life for individuals and families. We are just so happy that we were able to meet all these patients and their families and we were able to help them. The team is committed to continuing the program.”