Original report

Malawian prosthetic and orthotic users’ mobility and satisfaction with their lower limb assistive device

Lina Magnusson, Gerd Ahlström, Nerrolyn Ramstrand, Eleonor I. Fransson
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1117


Objective: To investigate patients’ mobility and satisfaction with their lower limb prosthetic or orthotic device and related service delivery in Malawi and to compare groups of patients regarding type and level of device and demographics.
Methods: Questionnaires were used to collect self-report data from 83 patients.
Results: Ninety percent of prostheses or orthoses were in use by patients, but approximately half of these needed repair. Thirty-nine percent reported pain when using their assistive device. The majority of patients were able to rise from a chair (77%), move around the home (80%), walk on uneven ground (59%) and travel by bus or car (56%). However, patients had difficulties walking up and down hills (78%) and stairs (60%). In general, patients were quite satisfied with their assistive device (mean of 3.9 out of 5) and very satisfied with the service provided (mean of 4.4 out of 5). Access to repairs and servicing were rated as most important, followed by durability and follow-up services. Lack of finances to pay for transport was a barrier to accessing the prosthetic and orthotic centre.
Conclusion: Patients were satisfied with the assistive device and service received, despite reporting pain associated with use of the device and difficulties ambulating on challenging surfaces.

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