Electric Hand Allows Afghan Amputee to Perform Daily Tasks

Abdul Khaliq tests the electric hand provided by USAID
Abdul Khaliq tests the electric hand provided to him by USAID.
USAID
Restoring self-reliance after grenade explosion
“The electric hand has given me the confidence to plan activities that previously I thought were impossible.”

May 2017—Abdul Khaliq is a double amputee who lives in a small house with his family in Afghanistan’s Laghman province. Unlike most of the estimated 43,500 amputees in the country, however, he can grasp objects and perform routine daily tasks with an electric hand—one of the first prosthetics of its kind in Afghanistan.

A former construction worker, Khaliq, 27, became an amputee when a rocket-propelled grenade detonated in his yard, killing his niece and severely injuring his hands. He had exhausted his savings seeking treatment when a local organization referred him to USAID’s Afghan Civilian Assistance Program (ACAP III). The program provided Khaliq’s family with a relief package, including food and non-food items, psychosocial counseling, and a cow to serve as a source of income.

The program also provided Khaliq with a custom-fit myoelectric-controlled hand, which opens and closes using a battery and signals from voluntary muscles. He can now grasp items, lift up to 5 kilograms in weight, and perform most daily tasks, including eating, drinking and grooming.

For other amputees in the country, however, the cost of such treatment is out of reach. As a result, USAID is seeking to expand the assistance in 2017 to more amputees throughout the country.

“Without my hands, I was feeling helpless and different than others. ACAP III provided me assistance when I was in need,” said Khaliq. “The immediate assistance saved us from borrowing money from neighbors. After receiving counseling sessions from ACAP III, I realized that, although I lost my hands, I am lucky that the remaining organs of my body are functioning. I can give a father’s love to my children and can look after my family. The electric hand has given me the confidence to plan activities that previously I thought were impossible.”

USAID’s Afghan Civilian Assistance Program, which runs from April 2015 to February 2018, provides support to civilians impacted by conflict, mines and other explosives, enabling them to rebuild their lives following trauma. To date, over 58,000 people have been provided immediate relief packages, and 16,000 people have received physical rehabilitation.

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Last updated: May 09, 2017

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