Jordan 3D lab prints limbs for war wounded, disabled kids
Jordan 3D lab prints limbs for war wounded, disabled kids
Abdullah was wounded in a mine blast as Iraqi forces battled to oust the jihadists from Iraq’s second city Mosul last year. His right hand was also seriously wounded.
The 22-year-old is one of a group of Iraqi, Syrian and Yemeni amputees to benefit from a 3D-printing prosthetics clinic at a hospital run by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF).
“It’s not easy to replace a hand, but at least the new device gives me some autonomy and means I don’t rely too much on my brother to eat,” said Abdullah, who asked not to use his real name.
Wearing jeans and a dark green shirt, he said he had been transferred from Mosul to a hospital in the Iraqi Kurdish regional capital Irbil before heading to Jordan.
“Now I feel better,” he said, managing a small smile. “I hope I can heal my right hand too.”
The 3D printing technique allows the team to create simple upper limbs without moving parts, slashing the costs of manufacturing advanced, custom-made prosthetic limbs, according to MSF.
The MSF Foundation, a wing of the charity dedicated to research and development, set up a prosthetics production center in Jordan’s Irbid last June.
A team of medics and technicians use the technique to help people born with genetic deformations as well as war wounded from across the region.
Doctors start by taking photos and measurements and sending them to the laboratory in Irbid, 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Amman.
The data is entered into a system that designers use to create a virtual model of the limb, which is then printed and sent to MSF’s Al-Mowasah hospital in Amman for fitting.
Several organizations have developed 3D printing for amputees in recent years, but MSF says its project is a first in the Middle East.
The clinic aims to give orthopaedic care to as many people as possible affected by the region’s conflicts.
Project coordinator Pierre Moreau said it had treated 15 Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis, Palestinians and Jordanians since its launch.
“We chose Jordan because we have one of the biggest hospitals and most advanced, and it is a stable place in the middle of a war region so we have access to patients from Syria, Iraq and Yemen,” he said in English.
It has also benefitted people born with deformities, such as seven-year-old Palestinian refugee Asil Abu Ayada from the Gaza camp northwest of Amman.
She lives with five brothers and her parents in a mud house, and was born without a right hand.
With her new prosthetic hand, she can now go to a normal school and even sketch drawings.
Too shy to speak to reporters, she sat manicuring her artificial fingers with the help of her sister Ines.
The 3D devices range in cost from $20 and $50 (euros) — a fraction of the cost of conventional prosthetic devices, which can cost thousands of dollars.
“You can design something that can suit this patient and is very specific to the activity of the patient,” Moreau said.
The new technique was developed by MSF in collaboration with “Fab Lab,” a digital manufacturing laboratory in Jordan.
Another beneficiary was Ibrahim al Mahamid, from Daraa in southern Syria, who suffered injuries to his left hand in a bombing raid in 2013.
A 33-year-old taxi driver, he had the hand amputated at a field hospital in Syria before moving to Jordan.
“The new prosthesis has given me hope to be able to go back to work and take care of family expenses,” he said.
First Russia air strikes hit south Syria as assault looms
- Russia, the United States, and Jordan agreed in July of last year on a de-escalation zone in rebel-controlled parts of southern Syria that would tamp down hostilities there
- Intense Russian air strikes are hitting towns in Daraa’s eastern countryside for the first time since the cease-fire was agreed in southern Syria last year
BEIRUT: Russia bombed rebel-held parts of southern Syria late Saturday for the first time since brokering a cease-fire there nearly a year ago, a monitor group said, as allied regime troops prepare a ground assault.
Southern Syria is a strategic prize for local and global players involved in the country’s convoluted seven-year war.
After securing the capital Damascus, Syrian President Bashar Assad appears keen to recapture the southern provinces of Daraa and Sweida, still mostly held by rebels.
He has sent military reinforcements there for weeks, dropped flyers demanding rebels surrender, and escalated bombardment in recent days.
Late Saturday night, his Russian allies bombed rebel-held towns in Daraa for the first time since the summer of 2017, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“Intense Russian air strikes are hitting towns in Daraa’s eastern countryside for the first time since the cease-fire was agreed in southern Syria last year,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
The Observatory said the warplanes used Saturday — based on type, location, munitions and flight patterns — had come from the Russian-operated Hmeimim base in coastal Syria.
The Britain-based monitor said at least 25 Russian strikes hit the rebel zones but did not have any casualty figures.
Russia, the United States, and Jordan agreed in July of last year on a de-escalation zone in rebel-controlled parts of southern Syria that would tamp down hostilities there.
Since then, Moscow’s warplanes — active in Syria since 2015 — had refrained from bombing rebel positions in the south.
But violence has been ratcheting up this week as Syrian government forces look to retake the south militarily.
Forces loyal to Assad began ramping up their air strikes and artillery fire on the zone on Tuesday.
At least 19 civilians in rebel-held zones have died since then, according to the Observatory.
Several civilians have also been killed in opposition fire on government zones, with state news agency SANA reporting Saturday that two civilians were killed in Daraa city in rebel shelling.
Some 12,000 people have been displaced from Daraa province in recent days, the Observatory said, with many seeking refuge in poorly-equipped displacement camps further west.
The United Nations has warned that growing violence is putting the lives of 750,000 people in rebel parts of the south in danger.
On Saturday, regime forces took two villages in Daraa province, their first ground gains after days of bombardment, the Observatory said.
“The Russian strikes started around 10:30pm local time (1930 GMT) and stopped after midnight,” said Ibrahim Mohammad, a media activist in the battered rebel town of Busr Al-Harir in Daraa.
He said he and other residents had taken to their basements and bomb shelters as soon as they heard the planes, describing a steady thud of bombardment for nearly two hours.
In an effort to avoid a deadly offensive, international powers are holding talks aimed at reaching a negotiated settlement for Syria’s south.
“All sides should seize the opportunity to negotiate a deal for the conditional return of the Syrian state to the south west and avert a military conclusion that, for all sides and the local population, would be a worse outcome,” wrote the International Crisis Group think tank last week.
“The US, Russia and Jordan, which brokered a south-western cease-fire in 2017, should urgently extend that truce in preparation for a broader settlement,” the report added.
Earlier this month, Assad said contacts were ongoing between Russia, the United States and Israel over the southern front.
“We are giving the political talks a chance, but if they fail, there will be no choice but liberation by force,” he said.
The regime has retaken large parts of Syria from the opposition since Russia intervened militarily on its side in 2015.