CLARK FREEPORT -- Six amputees received their prosthesis legs on Thursday through the auspices of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) in cooperation with the Kapampangan Development Foundation (KDF) and other government and non-governmental organizations.

CDC President Benigno Ricafort said the distribution of the artificial limbs to the six amputees, one of which is a boxing coach from Pampanga, is part of the state-owned firm's corporate social responsibility in trying to give new lease and normal lives to the beneficiaries.

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Ricafort also stressed that with the cooperation of various government agencies and NGOs, more prosthetic legs will be manufactured at the Clark Polytechnic Prosthesis Laboratory and Training facility.

The usual price of prosthesis ranges from P80,000 to P500,000 depending on the material used. Prosthesis from UP-PGH and Clark Polytechnic costs between P10,000 and P20,000 only.

Also, the event featured Smart Communications, Inc. (Smarts) program dubbed "Amputee Screening via CEllphone NeTworking" or ASCENT, which enable doctors to deliver better service to amputees during medical missions in rural areas.

Ramon Isberto, head of Smart's Public Affairs Group, said: "ICT can make much-needed health information easily accessible to health workers so that they can deliver services more effectively. This is another example of how technology can truly improve people's lives."

ASCENT was developed in support of the Physicians for Peace-Philippines and CDC-KDF's Walking Free, which allows indigents to avail more affordable prosthesis, or artificial limbs, fabricated by UP-PGH Prosthesis and Orthosis Service, and Clark Polytechnic Prosthesis Laboratory and Training Facility.

ASCENT is expected to reduce an amputee's visit to and from doctors, who are usually located in urban hospitals, for consultation and prosthetic fitting.

The UP-PGH prosthetic team does not need to go on-site to assess amputees' readiness for prosthesis, resulting in savings in time and money for both the doctors and the program beneficiaries. ASCENT allows the team to receive data including photos of the amputee via Smart mobile broadband. They can then immediately provide feedback to the health worker's cell phone, sending instructions on the proper methods for wound care and rehabilitation to facilitate prosthesis fitting and functional recovery.

Smart tapped its partner, the Ateneo de Manila University, through BlueBlade Technologies, to develop an electronic system that can make amputee screening easier for both the patients and the doctors.

The system is designed to have two components: a web application component and a mobile application component. The target users of the web application are city doctors who perform the actual evaluation of prosthetic limb requests.

Aside from the KDF, other groups present during the distribution and screening for prosthesis recipients were the Physicians for Peace International, Lion's Club of Pampanga, Rotary Club of Mabalacat, and medical doctors from the UP-PGH, among others. (NGT)