A Sad Case of Inequality

We very recently received a heartbreaking message highlighting a sad case of inequality from a British citizen whose mother is living in Nigeria.

A sad case of inequality
Dear Sir/ Ma
I am searching around if i can get humanitarian help to get prothesis legs for my 72yrs old mother who is a double below the knee amputee. She had one surgery in 2019 and the other one November 2022 as result of diabetes complications. I got her local prothesis leg (wooden) when she had her first amputation in 2019 but She could not carry it because it was too heavy. The cost of get her a proper prothesis in Nigeria is too much for me as I am on low-income threshold and my mother is resident in Nigeria. Her present condition is having much impact on my mental health and affects my immediate family. 
I am appealing for a new or used prothesis legs that can be adjust to her use in Nigeria. She is seriously depressed because of her condition. Her picture is available on request.
Thank you.”

The only son in the family, our contact has applied several times to the Home Office to bring his mother to the UK to join him and his family, but all his efforts have been refused. His mother has now had both legs amputated as a result of complications of diabetes, the second in November last year. He has tried to get prosthetic limbs for her but all that is available in Nigeria was a wooden prosthesis which was too heavy for his mother, who’s now quite frail, to manage. (I can well believe that as I remember how heavy and cumbersome Douglas’s prosthetic legs were and he had progressed to plastic!)

The cost of getting the prosthetics in Nigeria runs into Millions (including physiotherapy) in Nigeria currency but it’s just under £2500

We were one of more than 10 UK charities approached and none were able to help as, like the DBF, all are restricted to supporting amputees and people with other disabilities in the UK. We are a small charity with limited funds or I would love to help this brave family and others in their position. The inequity of the prosthetics situation really brings home how very fortunate amputees are in this country, where not only can (almost) everyone get a light and wearable prosthesis but often bespoke ones for different sports as well. It’s a sad case of inequality when having an amputation in one country means you’re unlikely ever to get a prosthetic limb while in another, you could have different prostheses for different functions.

It is also a sad case of inequality when some people with family in this country are allowed in and others, who may be frail and in need of support are not. I know the Home Office has a horrendous job making these decisions but seeing them from the personal perspective always brings the human reality of these situations home.

Our contact says: “We so much appreciate your efforts to assist my mother and I to overcome the challenges we are facing presently. I had approached more than 10 charities with my mother condition, however, non is willing to help because they don’t operate outside UK. It quite unfortunate that those of us who live here in developed country cannot get help to our family in underdeveloped countries. As a British citizen and only Son of my mother, all my efforts to bring her to join me here has been refused few times by Home Office. My Mother situation is what millions of amputees are facing in underdeveloped countries.

The wonderful charity, Legs4Africa is doing a superb job of delivering legs to sub-Saharan Africa but, while they are expanding their territory there all the time, they sadly don’t yet operate in Nigeria. We are hoping that that may come soon, which will give hope to this double amputee and many others. You can find out more about Legs4Africa by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post.

I admire people who fight for their family’s wellbeing and felt I couldn’t ignore this plea. It’s a long shot but if anyone knows of a way to help out or has contacts who may, we’d love to hear from you…
There will be a follow up post shortly.

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