Prosthesis Design, Fit, and Human Wellbeing in Ghana

Grants to Support Faculty Fellows' Research
Grant Year

Sub-Saharan African health infrastructures are built on infectious diseases like malaria and HIV. As these nations develop, wealth bases increase, and people live longer, more Africans face lifestyle conditions like diabetes which receives considerably less scholarly attention in the development agenda. As such, rising rates of limb amputations due to diabetic gangrene have put added pressure on an already stressed system of prosthesis design and distribution. Prosthesis and Orthopedic centers exist within aid blind spots, falling between the gaps of health infrastructure and international development agencies’ global health priorities. This project studies prosthetists to explain how they create for patients a sense of wellbeing through their creativity, resourcefulness, and the work they do to shape the meaning of being an amputee in Ghana. Through ethnographic observation of two prosthesis centers, the project takes an ecological and cultural approach to understanding the development of wellbeing among Ghanaians with amputated limbs.