New light-weight calipers for polio sufferers

While the eradication of poliomyelitis from India in 2011 was a milestone for Rotary, very few people have given thought to patients still suffering from the debilitating effects of this crippling disease. Numbering around lakhs, mostly elder citizens, they have to put up with conventional calipers made of metal and leather, forcing them to use black leather shoes for the rest of their life.

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RC Jaipur Mid Town, RID 3054, has launched a campaign — Global Polio Rehabilitation Intiative (GPRI) — that reaches out to polio sufferers, offering them proven, cost-effective technology to lessen their pain. “The era of metal, wood and leather ­calipers is over. We did a research project funded by the Department of Science of Technology, GoI, at ­Santokba ­Durlabhji Memorial Hospital under the guidance of Dr P K Sethi to evolve a low-cost, easy-to use, light-weight thermoplastic calipers,” said club member Dr Anil Kumar Jain. These modern calipers need less energy to move about and the person can use shoes of his or her choice. Besides, this prosthetic can be used for all types of musculoskeletal and paralytic disorders with good results, he said. But this new caliper has not reached the remote areas of the country where there are many polio victims enduring a tough life with conventional instruments. “Through GPRI’s Reach the Unreached  programme we are spreading the message so that polio sufferers can avail this caliper by contacting us,” said Dr Jain.

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