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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

New collaboration to improve prosthetics in lower and middle income countries

Published: 28 February 2018
Dr Maggie Donovan-Hall

A University of Southampton researcher is to take part in a new study to look into ways of providing better upper limb prostheses for people in lower and middle income countries.

The project will develop a body-powered prosthetic for people in countries where conflict and road traffic accidents mean that demand for upper limb prostheses is much higher. 

Dr. Maggie Donovan-Hall, from the University of Southampton, will be part of the research team that is being led by Professor Laurence Kenney at the University of Salford.  They will be partner with Makere University in Uganda and the University of Jordan, as well as University College London (UCL) and the University of Greenwich.

The £1.4m funding has come from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) who are committing £16m to a range of projects through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), a £1.5b government fund to support cutting-edge technology that addresses challenges faced by low and middle income countries.

Dr Donovan-Hall will lead on the work package that user needs aspects of the project to ensure that the user and stakeholder voice is integrated throughout the design, development and testing of the new prosthesis.  She said: “A fundamental part of this project is to ensure that the design of the new prosthesis fully meets the user and stakeholder needs.  This will involve working in partnership to fully integrate physical, social and cultural issues, whilst also considering the sustainability of the new technology. 

Amputees in Africa and the Middle East often have very poor access to prosthetic services and the devices they are offered are often not fit for purpose, being expensive, providing limited function and being uncomfortable to use.  Researchers working on the project now hope to address these problems.




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