NINE months ago, when Supertyphoon Yolanda—one of the world’s most powerful typhoons ever recorded—hit Tacloban, hundreds of thousands of people’s lives were forever changed. These include survivors who lost their loved ones, those who were left homeless and those who lost a limb to accidents caused by the typhoon.
Thanks to the prostheses mission organized recently in Tacloban City by the Philippine Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine (PARM), in cooperation with partners, at the Remedios Trinidad Romualdez hospital, many amputee-survivors will be given a new lease on life through the Walking Free Program of Physicians for Peace (PfP).
With the help of the Amputee Screening through Cellphone Networking (Ascent) mobile app, which PfP started using in 2010, the screening process greatly improved.
Whereas the regular screening process of paper and pen would take one whole day, Ascent enabled the PfP team to finish the screening and prostheses measurement in Tacloban within four hours only. PfP was able to screen 27 amputees and cast 20 patients. Highlighting the active role of persons with disabilities (PWDs) as assessors and service providers, Ascent screening was performed by PWDs themselves, two of whom were also amputees.
Co-developed by wireless services leader Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) and Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center, Ascent is a patient-screening tool that allows health workers and volunteers to record amputee patient data and photos. These patient profiles can then be sent via the mobile Internet to an online central database that PfP can access to view the records and provide recommendations.
“Through mobile apps like Ascent running on our wireless services, we are empowering allied health personnel and lay people, particularly PWDs, in enabling delivery of efficient and quality disability services and care anywhere in the 7,100 islands,” Smart Public Affairs Group Head Ramon Isberto said.
This September, 25 amputees in Tacloban will receive their free artificial legs courtesy of PARM and partners. The prostheses will enable the amputees to get on with their lives without having to be too dependent on their family members.