War-wounded Abdullah Ayed tries his 3D-printed prosthetic limb at the MSF-run hospital in Amman, Jordan. Picture: REUTERS/MUHAMMAD HAMED
War-wounded Abdullah Ayed tries his 3D-printed prosthetic limb at the MSF-run hospital in Amman, Jordan. Picture: REUTERS/MUHAMMAD HAMED

Amman — A hospital in Jordan has given a victim of Yemen’s war new hope for the future, thanks to the cutting-edge technology of 3D-printed prosthetics.

Twenty-one-year-old Abdullah Ayed lost one arm and the other was badly damaged when his home in Aden was hit by an explosive in 2017. He spent weeks in a coma in a local hospital. When he woke, he learnt one of his arms had to be amputated while the other was almost beyond repair.

“I wished for death, that would have been better than being like this,” said Ayed. “It was embarrassing to go out with my hand amputated, especially still being young, I wanted to get married, I wanted a job. But I did not lose my faith in God.”

In August 2018, international medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) sent Ayed to Amman for treatment and rehabilitation. The MSF reconstructive surgery programme was set up in 2006, and aims to help patients regain independence. Ayed was chosen to receive a 3D printed prosthetic.

Project supervisor Samar Ismail said 3D-printed prosthetics were faster to produce and much cheaper. The price of a 3D limb is about $30, while the more conventional limbs start at $200 and can go up to thousands of dollars. The light weight is also a huge advantage, Ismail added, which enables patients to use them for longer.

So far, more than 20 limbs have been fitted to patients, from Gaza, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Ayed said his prosthetic was life-changing. Though difficult to use at first, therapy helped him regain skills such as tying his shoes or putting on a shirt.

“I had lost hope in life, but now after training my mental state is much better,” he said.

He is practising motor skills that will enable him to work at a laundromat. But his biggest dream is to be able to go back to Yemen, get married and start a family.

“That’s all I want, to go back home and for things to get better there.”

Reuters