Research team from Imperial College to visit Cambodia
A three-man research team funded by Find A Better Way leaves for Cambodia on 20 September as a first step towards developing improved, low-cost prostheses for landmine victims.
Cambodia is an obvious choice for the team’s fact-finding mission. There have been more than 60,000 civilian casualties from explosive remnants of war in the country since 1979, and over a hundred new victims are added to the tally every year. Unsurprisingly, Cambodia is believed to have one of the highest proportions of people disabled from landmine accidents in the world.
The team, who include project manager Dr Ian Radcliffe, Grigorios Grigoriadis, and Christopher Natt, hail from Imperial College London’s Department of Bioengineering and Dyson School of Design Engineering and are working in conjunction with the Royal British Legion Centre for Blast Injury Studies (CBIS). The CBIS recently ran a Find A Better Way funded course for civilian trauma surgeons who work in several former conflict zones. The course concentrated on the benefits of ‘through-knee amputations’ – a technique that was until recently discouraged but has been found to have extensive benefits for blast injury victims.
In order to benefit fully from through-knee amputations, however, blast injury victims will require new prostheses designed with the surgical technique in mind. Dr Radcliffe and his team are hoping to gather information from the visit that will enable them to create new, low-cost prosthetics designs that help amputees maximize the benefits of through-knee amputations.
Dr Radcliffe explains, “This trip will involve a great deal of observation of current practices in the field and to engage with prosthetists and amputees to understand their experiences. The team have prepared a number of concept prototypes which they will be taking to Cambodia to exchange ideas with our partners at Exceed Worldwide and the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics (CSPO). We have also been granted access to the CSPO workshop to further develop and test our concepts using the relevant equipment available to the people in the field.
“A good result from this trip will be to come back with an improved understanding of what is possible in the field to direct the next stage of concept development.”