By Kemi Yesufu
An Abuja based company, SunTech Limited has announced plans to commence the production of prosthetics in Abuja.
Chief Executive Officer of SunTech, Mr. Sunny Ukachuwku made this known during a tour of the firm’s factory on Thursday.
A prosthesis substitutes for a part of the body which may have been missing at birth or that is lost through an accident or through amputation. Many amputees have also lost a limb as part of treatment for cancer, diabetes or sever infection.
Speaking with the media after the tour, Ukachukwu said his company was established to provide Nigerians with quality prosthetics, built to specification and aesthetics tastes, but at an affordable rate. He expressed sadness over the fact that Nigerian pay millions of naira to purchase prosthetics from overseas though they aren’t made to fit. He noted that a large number of people who need prosthetics suffer in silence as they cannot afford it.
He stated that Sun-Tech’s goal is to change the narrative by making affordable prosthetics available to Nigerian who need it.
“Sun-Tech is here to make life easy for people who have difficulty moving. Our vision is to make prosthetics available and affordable in Nigeria. Before now, we’ve had discussions with NGOs, we have our potential clients as our major stakeholders. In fact, our in-house counselor has lived as an amputee for 35 years and she has lived a productive life. She was amputated at the age of five, yet she completed her education, graduating with a Law degree.
“So, we have been talking to those we will be serving and when they talk to us, we can see that they desire to use prosthetics, some desire to have supporting materials due certain health challenges, but they can’t afford it. Yes, many are aware of prosthetics they can buy off- the-shelf abroad, but they lack funds. This is why our main target is not only to make the devices and prosthetics available but to find every means to make it affordable to our people. In fact, we want to break that cycle of, if a person doesn’t have N1million or N3million he/she cannot get a ‘leg’, he said.
Ukachukwu disclosed that his firm is willing to collaborate with the military with regard to providing prosthetics to casualties of the insurgency in the North-East. This is as his team is prepared to work with relevant government agencies to reach the legion of amputees who can function more effectively with prosthetics, as they can also contribute to the country’s development.
He said: “I am sure the government is doing its bit with regard to providing prosthetics to Nigerians. It could be a case of government’s best not being good enough as seventy percent of prosthetics imported to Nigeria were brought in by NGOs and in many cases it is prosthetics bought off-the-shelf. If you go to the US, the UK and Europe, you find out that people willing to use them practically walk in and leave with them. There government encourages its people. But in this place, once you are an amputee who could do better with prosthetics, you have to buy it from overseas by yourself or you have many kindhearted Nigerians who help to purchase for those in need”. “Government may be doing a few things to help amputees, but they have to review the process to ensure that those in need actually are being helped. It is sad to see Nigerians using walking sticks to walk or using ill-fitting, old fashioned prosthetics which makes their difficulty in movement.