SA observes Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness month

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The Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness, which is celebrated globally in April, is now being observed for the first time in the country through activities in partnership with a non-profit company, Kasi Amputee Family Centre.

Amputee life coach, Sello Mantsho, cycled from George Mukhari Academic Hospital to Odi Hospital, north of Pretoria, in a campaign that seeks to educate the public to detect and prevent limb-threatening conditions.

Mantsho was accompanied by other cyclists, including aspiring young ones.

The amputee life coach says it’s imperative to arm amputees with knowledge about potential complications and to equip them with resources to effectively manage the challenges involved.

He lost his leg in 2022 due to diabetes.

Mantsho is advocating accessibility and inclusiveness of amputees in public spaces through different activities.

“The aim is to encourage people who have been amputated that there’s still more to do after losing their limbs and that they shouldn’t despair as many fall into depression.”

Mantsho says plans for including other sporting activities are also on the cards.

“SA does not have amputees who play soccer. So we are considering a team like there’s one in Ghana and other places in the world.”

Some specialists say participation depends on the nature of the sporting activity as well as the level of amputation.

Joyce Kungwane a sports scientist and boxing promoter says, ”Different codes have different requirements that is speed, strength, eye contact and coordination. Most of the athletes who have been amputated or have lost their limbs are not being treated as the people that have all the limbs. And from the boxing side we don’t have many people who don’t have limbs.’

The country reportedly has a high prevalence of Diabetes Mellitus, which is a leading risk factor for amputations. However, causes vary.

The awareness will be observed worldwide to honour millions of people living with limb loss.