The emotional and financial impact of limb-loss, whether as a result of congenital causes,disease or trauma, can be devastating without informed support. We approached two Non Profit Organisations (NPO) about support for amputees and their families.

The first group we approached was the Amputee Support Group (ASG) inPort Elizabeth as they were recommended by the South African Orthotic andProsthetic Association (SAOPA) and have been in operation since 2004.

ASG focuses on the emotional needs of amputees and provides practicaladvice on managing life after rehab. National Administrator, Peter Morris, expanded:“When an amputation is due to take place, or has occurred, we are informed bythe hospital. The patient is visited immediately by one of our members. Whenthe patient realises that his visitor is also an amputee, his fears are farmore easily put to rest. We try to see patients pre-op in an effort to reduceanxiety concerning the amputation and after effects.”

The ASG encourages orthotists and prosthetists (O&Ps) to assist amputeesand ASG by asking their patients to form an ASG branch. Even so, strict ASGrules forbid O&Ps from being the co-ordinator of an ASG branch as this couldbe construed as touting for business.

Although the ASG does not do fund-raising (all visits are done by amputeeson a volunteer basis), their NPO financial reports were in place, available andcurrent.

Peter encouraged us to contact amputees who have been assisted by the ASG:

“I woke up after the operation and found Peter sitting next to my bed. Ifound his support and his visit at our home, to advise us on the placement ofgrab rails and a wheel chair ramp, remarkable.” - Denise Riekert.

“Peter lifted my spirits and explained to me how I would fit into normallife again after the operation. He did not refer me to an OP.” - BradleyBoggenpoel.

ASG does not have a website but Peter Morris can be contacted on 041–581-6883or email asgp@telkomsa.net

ASG branches exist in Cape Town, George, PE, Grahamstown, Port Alfred,Durban, Bloemfontein and Secunda.

The second group we contacted was the Amputee Club of SA as they made headlinenews earlier this year when they assisted young Lewis Wynne, who suffered adouble amputation when a tree fell on him at school. Muzi Nkosi (chairperson ofSADA and DPSA) is also indirectly involved with them though his position as thenon-executive chairperson of Debttec, an affiliated company.

Despite its name, the Amputee Club is not a support group. A google searchfinds that they provide: education and advice, prosthetic fitting, fundraising, prosthetic fabrication, rehabilitation and training. According to CharlBeukes, a trustee of the Club, they prefer not to raise money directly, but topartner a funder with a patient and O&P.

They were established in 2003 by Centauri Medical Services, a for-profitcompany. The Centauri group comprises a medical practice management service, amedical supplies importation business and an orthotic and prostheticfabrication workshop (Centauri Orthopaedic Centre).

Centauri Orthopaedic Centre refer all of their patients to the Club andvice versa. In association with Fedhealth they have also initiated a five year“managed care” programme for the orthotic and prosthetic needs of amputees.

CEO of Centauri, Kevin Hogg, assured us that the patient’s right tochoose a preferred O&P is always honoured. He further advised that Centauridoes not subscribe to the ALF Tariff List issued annually by SAOPA as Centauriimport their medical supplies directly and pass any savings on to medical aidsand patients.

 

ri-dot