The Rotarians of RC Mapuca, RID 3170, are happy that their club’s maiden effort to provide bionic upper limbs to eight beneficiaries through the Robotic Arm camp has been successful. “The recipients are the sole breadwinners of their families. This initiative is carved out of the club’s 22-year-old Jaipur limb fitment programme which has been catering to leg amputees,” says Club President Ajay Gopinath Menon.
DG Ravikiran Kulkarni and AG Prakash Pilankar inaugurated the Robotic Arm camp in May to mark the 54th charter day of the club, which is the second oldest in Goa after RC Panjim. “We tied up with the ortho and plastic surgery departments of the government medical college for this global grant project. They identified 28 beneficiaries who are in dire need of such a fitment,” said Menon.
Unlike the LN-4 prosthetics which is a basic claw-type and mechanical device, the robotic arms supplied by the German company Ottobock have computer sensors to process the stimuli passed on by the muscular system in conjunction with the brain to act as directed by the central nervous system. “All types of hand movements can be done with robotic arms. Each fitment is customised based on the specific needs of the upper arm clumps of the beneficiaries.” Two officials from the German company in Mumbai came down for the camp and took the upper limb measurements of the beneficiaries and “once the prosthetics arrive from the parent firm, they will be given a two-week training to use them.” With each prosthetic costing `3.25 lakh, the club raised `26 lakh ($37,500) through a global grant done with its international partner RC Francisco Beltrao, Brazil, RID 4640. “On our part, the club mobilised $14,750 through contributions from members,” he added.
The Jaipur limb fitment programme being run by the club for over 22 years at the Rugnashray Centre in Bambolim has benefitted 1,600 amputees so far.
Free cataract surgeries are being done for at least 30–40 needy people each year. Besides, the club holds a general medical camp each month to treat various ailments.