Prótesis Imbabura’s mission is to provide Ecuadorian patients with quality affordable prosthetics (artifical limbs), orthotics (braces) and adaptive equipment. Prótesis Imbabura, with the collaboration of Fundación Jen Lee, and the help of foreign volunteers, fabricates affordable prosthetics, orthotics and adaptive equipment of high quality, thus helping those with needs for assistive technology to overcome adversity and meet challenges.
Statistics from 2018 report that approximately 23% of the Ecuadoran population lives below the poverty line. When looking at the percentage of the population that is disabled and who live below the poverty line–that number soars; 82% of people with disabilities in Latin America live in poverty. Yet many need so little to be able to self-sufficient. Obtaining needed orthotic and prosthetic care often is the gateway toward being able to move, walk, work. There are so few prosthetic providers in the country that both scarcity and affordability prevent many patients are from getting the devices they need.
Prótesis Imbabura’s purpose is twofold:
- provide for patients who need prosthetic, orthotic and positioning devices.
- through teaching and awareness increase the quality and quantity of rehabilitation devices and services.
How is this accomplished?
Prótesis Imbabura is located in Ibarra, Ecuador. Prótesis Imbabura was born out of a former foundation, when the staff and director decided that the best path to sustainability was to form a small enterprise providing fabrication of rehab devices. Fundación Jen Lee supports patients by donating the needed components directly to the patients. Prótesis Imbabura is then able to charge only for the cost of fabrication, which is about 10-15% of the typical cost of prosthetics. Generous contributions of prosthetic goods come to Fundación Jen Lee from individuals and corporations worldwide. Patients pay for the fabrication, with support from donors or agencies when needed. Finally, international and Ecuadoran volunteers give generously of their time and talents to consult, teach, and collaborate with students and with the full-time staff at the clinic.
The clinic itself is run year round by a trained Ecuadoran staff, providing continuity of care to our patients. International and Ecuadoran interns and trainees are frequently present, and take the perspectives and knowledge gained with them in their respective careers.
The key to keeping rehab devices affordable is to utilize recycled materials and components when appropriate, to use low-cost prosthetic components that can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of typical components, and to fabricate items whenever possible in-country. We work closely with Promovilidad in Quito where affordable mobility devices are fabricated. We use recycled materials for the majority of seating and standing devices.
Our low costs mean that prosthetics are affordable for the majority of our patients. For the others, we look to organizations within Ecuador to assist us to provide for their citizens, as well as to international donors.