Pinoy researchers develop upper and lower extremity assistive devices using mobile van

Health researchers from Physicians for Peace, Inc. are currently developing above-knee and  below-elbow prosthesis using  a mobile assistive device workshop unit. 

The study entitled, “POWer: Mobile Biomedical Device Unit to Enhance Access to Upper and Lower extremity devices”, is supported by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) under the Prostheses, Orthoses, Wheelchair EmpoweRment (POWER) projects, that aims to develop prosthetic and orthotic devices through a mobile assistive device workshop.

This project is an immediate follow-through after the successful completion of its Phase 1, which has developed a service delivery model using a mobile workshop for the fabrication of below-knee prosthesis and ankle-foot orthosis.

Building on its experience in Phase 1, the Phase 2 study explores the upper and lower extremity prosthesis and orthosis, expanding the services the mobile van workshop can provide in the Philippines. It aims to compare the prosthetic outcomes among patients who went through the procedure in the mobile unit versus those who had the procedure in the facility-based workshop. Fabrication and maintenance time, adjustment of repair incidence, and patient satisfaction are among the outcomes to be assessed in this study.

Led by Dr. Josephine R. Bundoc, Walking Free Program Chair of the Physicians for Peace Philippines Foundation Inc., the project is now in its fifth quarter of implementation and is expected to finish in January 2024.

To date, the project team has fabricated 12 above-knee prosthetic devices and 11 below-elbow prosthesis devices through the mobile van and has also started the analysis of the sustainability of their community-based service delivery model by conducting literature reviews and consultations with technical experts.

Meanwhile, PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime Montoya encourages researchers to continue doing research and development that produces innovative designs and methods. “As we move forward to a better and brighter future, we need to strengthen and broaden research and development to ensure that accessibility is a part of inclusive and sustainable growth. Every Filipino should enjoy the progress. No one is left behind,” said Dr. Montoya.

Upon completion of this phase, it is expected to develop a sustainability analysis and development-to-commercialization plan for institutions and government agencies that are interested in setting up their own mobile biomedical device workshop and implementing similar initiatives performed by the project.

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