Since 2014, the Victoria Hand Project (VHP) has designed and deployed affordable and functional 3D printed prosthetic and orthotic devices for people who may otherwise have no access. Based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, VHP currently operates in 10 countries – Nepal, Cambodia, Guatemala, Ecuador, Haiti, Egypt, Uganda, and Kenya – as well as in underserved areas of Canada and the US.
In many of these areas, prosthetic and orthotic care can be difficult for people to access due to both cost and a lack of infrastructure needed for their manufacture. To overcome these obstacles, VHP partners with local healthcare practitioners and technical experts in these under-served regions, and provides the equipment and training in cutting-edge technologies, including 3D printing and 3D scanning.
“These partnerships help generate high-tech jobs in some of the world’s poorest areas to manufacture and deliver the Victoria Hand as an affordable option in the communities that need them most,” Michael Peirone, VHP’s COO, says. “We have seen people use 3D printing in Nepal to make replacement parts for broken machine components, and orthotists in Haiti 3D printing parts they couldn’t order into the country.”
Through working in developing countries, VHP also learned about the vast need for orthotic devices, and is currently developing 3D printed scoliosis braces and other orthotic solutions.
3D printing allows each prosthetic arm to be custom-made to each user’s unique needs. It also helps increase the clinics capacity, allowing the clinicians to help more people, laying the groundwork for sustainable, on-going care.