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Indonesians to Be Fitted Jaipur-made Artificial Limbs

At least 350 Indonesians who lost their limbs due to disease, accident or disasters like the tsunami will be fitted with Jaipur-made artificial limbs in Jakarta//.

"On the invitation of a non-resident Indian association, we are organising a 15-day camp in Jakarta from Friday, in which 350 people will be fitted with the Jaipur Foot," D.R. Mehta, the founder of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayta Samiti in Jaipur, told IANS here.

He said the association received over 1,000 applications, but "as we are carrying material for less numbers, we will be able to fit the artificial limbs free of cost to only 350 people".

Mehta added: "This would be our 21st visit to a foreign country. So far we have held camps in Sudan, Afghanistan and parts of Latin America. Last year, we provided limbs to over 19,000 people in India and overseas."

"After the Indonesia camp, we propose to go to Lebanon and then to Colombo," he said. The Lebanon trip - scheduled in April - was at an invitation by the Indian Peace Keeping Force there.

The 'Jaipur Foot' was conceived by a Jaipur resident, Ram Charan Sharma, in 1968. Sharma, who hails from a family of sculptors, conducted successful trials of such limbs with guidance from orthopaedic surgeon P.K. Sethi.

The artificial foot is attached free of cost at the Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayta Samiti in Jaipur, which was established in 1975. Mehta, the former chief of the Securities and Exchange Board of India, is a chief patron of this group.

The beauty of the Jaipur foot is its lightness and mobility - those who wear it can run, climb trees and pedal bicycles - and its low price. While prosthesis for a similar level of amputation can cost several thousand dollars in the US, the Jaipur Foot costs the equivalent of only $20-28 in India.

Sublimely low-tech, it is made of rubber, wood and aluminium and can be assembled with local materials.

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