The production of prosthetic limbs is proving to be a sustainable revenue model for the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) and it could be implemented in all government medical college hospitals.
The Institute of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, which functions out of the CMCH, started manufacture of lightweight prosthetic limbs in July 2020 and the first transtibial prosthetic limb was fitted to a woman on August 15 last year. The institute has so far helped 50 beneficiaries, 45 of them receiving limbs when Covid-19 cases were at the peak.
Speaking to TNIE, the institute’s director S Vetrivel Chezian said, “There are two types of the prosthesis in the market. One is calliper type which is heavy and the other is a lightweight prosthesis that helps patients take care of themselves and act independently like a near-normal individual.”
Post fitting the protheses to the patients, Vetrivel said the institute offers rejuvenation courses by motivating and training them to walk without help. He added, “There are only two companies that produce lightweight artificial limbs in the country, and monopolised the sector.
Our institute changed the scenario. The two companies took 25 per cent of the fund earmarked for infrastructure development under the health insurance scheme. With in-house manufacture, the funds remained with us and were used to improve infrastructure.”
Vetrivel said beneficiaries were fitted with prosthetic limbs under Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) and Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme (CMCHIS). The total claim amount was `18.6 lakh for 45 beneficiaries. The infrastructure amount generated was `4.6 lakh which shall be used for the institute’s infrastructure development, he said.
CMCH’s success story was published in the recent edition of the International Journal of Orthopaedics Sciences. The paper co-authored by junior residents Kumaravel R, Surendhar R, and Ranjithkumar S suggests that a lightweight artificial limb production centre be established in all government medical college hospitals. This initiative will help the city to grade up to the next level.
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