An Inspiration to Produce Artificial Legs

The founder of TIDF, Mr. Woothiwong Toatong, was inpired to produce artificial legs for, poor people, while watching a documentary produced by ASAHI poor people in North-Eastern Thailand. He was moved by seeing the smiles of those amputees who could walk by themselves again. He asked his Japanese friend, Mr. Ryoitsu Kitamoto, to take him to Japan and to show him the techniques of the making of artificial legs. In Japan he learnt the basic principles of artificial leg production. Also Mr. Katsuji Shirasaka and Mr. Otokio Yamada gave him two artificial legs belonging to two dead people as sample. Open his return to the Kingdom of Thailand, he reported about his visit to Japan and the idea to produce artificial legs free of charge to the poor amputees in Thailand was conceived by the majority of the members of TIDF. Mr. Woothiwong gained further knowledge about techniques in producing artificial legs from Dr. Chusilpa Kunathai and Dr. Suksom Kukietinan of Phra Mongkut Hospital. The project to make the first artificial leg was launched in March 1998. Mr. Woothiwong approached Dr. Saksom Kukietinan again for further advice. With support from various friends such as Mr. Chalit Jatisathian, Mr. Prasert Chuchumsaksri and Mr. Chookiat Korchitwanich, parts for making the first artificial leg were collected and an artificial ankle was created. Then Mr. Woothiwong's friend, Mr. Lerpong Ngarmpojana, came up with what the team thought was a workable design on the 24th of April 1998. The first artificial leg was successfully tested and tried under the supervision of Dr. Chusilpa Kunathai at Phra Mongkut Hospital. The first limb could help the amputee to sit in various positions, e.g. sitting with the legs crossed, sitting with the legs tucked to one side and kneeling. Later limbs were developed, tested, tried and evaluated. On the 7th of September 1998, the team tried another limb in Chiang Mai under the supervision of Dr. Terdchai Cheevakasem, the Secretariat of the Princess Mother Foundation. They experimented with polyurethane and found the material satisfactorily workable.

                  

Finally full articificial legs were invented using 40 sets of moulds. These limbs work almost like human limbs. However, they are much lighter than conventional prosthetics, Mr. Woothiwong and his team are proud to have