Students run mobile amputee clinic in Syria

Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:08am EDT
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By Khalil Ashawi

Maaret al-Numan, SYRIA (Reuters) - In what looks like an ordinary white truck, two men are helping victims who have lost limbs in the conflict in Syria to walk, play, and even herd sheep again.

In the past four years, the two technicians have made and fitted about 5,000 prosthetic limbs for an estimated 2,500 people. Their mobile clinic has been running for about six months, and has gone some way to improve access.

The five-year war between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and insurgents has killed at least 250,000 people and wounded many more.

While most of the wounded are between 15 and 45, the clinic also fits children and the elderly with replacement limbs.

"The feeling can’t be described when you put the new prosthesis on a patient, especially kids," says technician Amjad Hajj Khamis. "They love to move and play so it’s a wonderful feeling to help a child to walk again."

Khamis, 24, was studying French literature at the University of Homs, and his colleague Abdalrahim Khlouf, 25, was training to be a school teacher. Both had to give up after just four months because of the worsening situation in the city.

Starting work in a field hospital, the men were trained how to make and fit artificial limbs, including a stint in the Turkish border city of Rihaniyya and distance learning from Pakistan, Britain and Germany.

To see a Reuters photo essay, please click on   Continued...

A boy with an amputated leg walks using an artificial limb in the rebel-controlled area of Maaret al-Numan town in Idlib province, Syria March 20, 2016. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi