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3D printed prosthetics in India

8:45:00 PM

Interview with Shaju V. Cherian about 3D printing technology supporting disabled people in India

Shaju V.Cherian from Kerala, India, newly registered to Helpific platform requesting help to his initiative providing prosthetics with innovative 3D printing technology in the rural areas of India. In order to get more information about this great initiative we have conducted a short interview with Mr. Cherian.

Shaju V.Cherian, clinical prosthetist and orthotist, showing a prosthetic leg
Can you please introduce yourself and your initiative?
I am Shaju V.Cherian, clinical prosthetist and orthotist. In 1994-97 I studied 3 years for a diploma in Design and Development of Assistive Devices for the handicapped. After completing course, I worked in an NGO named FAITH, Kerala, India. During the employment between 1998-2001 I made fabrications and fittings of various types of prosthesis and orthosis to persons with a disabilities. In 2001-05 I worked in a Hi-Tech Rehab Centre. In 2006-07 I took Prosthetics and Orthotics certificate course in Manipal University because of the norms of Rehabilitation Council of India. I had my Bachelors degree in Prosthetics and Orthotics in Utkal University, Odisha, India. Pursuing my graduation, I completed internship in April 2013 and joined in Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, as a permanent employee in the Regional Limb Fitting Centre. In 2014 I had a course Fellowship of Hand Splinting in Rehabilitation in Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi.

A man with a prosthetic arm
What kind of challenges people with disabilities are facing in India?
The problems are related with the work efficiency, quality materials, material wastage, machineries and tools. The major issues are the lack of appropriate materials for prosthesis and orthosis and difficulty to reach persons with a disability in rural setup. Also the lack of time to spend for counselling, awareness in that area and training with prosthesis and orthosis. We failed in some cases due to a specific disability and age.

A man with amputated hand and leg needs a prosthesis
Which way your initiative is an answer to these challenges?
I searched new technologies and find out that 3D scanning and printing can save time, increase efficiency, enables to have more time for reaching the rural people and opportunity training them with effective gait training.

Fitting of a leg prosthesis
How members of Helpific can support your initiative?
Me and my friend Mr. Dipu K.C. tried to make a device for a person who cannot operate both hands to eat and drink etc. We designed a device for him and participated in the Enable Makeathon of ICRC in Bangalore. During this period we saw 3D printers and technology utilization in prosthetics and orthotics. Also had a short training on 3D and Bio printing. I think 3D printing is the future technology in the prosthetics, orthotics and healthcare. If we start the initiative to do this, it will be a great leap. Helpific members can think about this venture and go in details how to help with this attempt. In my point of view, it can be a chance to do a research on this and sponsor the equipments and materials or individual based fabrication with suitable technological help.

A child with a leg prosthesis
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3D printing disability English future technology Helpific India orthosis prosthetics

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