There are so many nonprofits doing good work on behalf of amputees that it seems impossible to keep track of them all. But we’re going to try anyway. Every week we’ll highlight one organization or person that’s out there trying to make life better for amputees. This week’s Worthy Cause: Penta Prosthetics.
Name: Penta Prosthetics
Founders: Three Ivy League undergraduates launched Penta in 2016 to solve two problems at once. First, an estimated 300,000 prosthetic devices are discarded every year in the United States, clogging landfills with nonbiodegradable materials. Second, roughly 95 percent of amputees in developing nations such as Vietnam lack access to prosthetic devices. The students—Henry Iseman of Yale and Victor Wang and Trang Duong of Brown University—began looking for ways to salvage usable limbs and components from America’s sizeable waste stream and distribute them to the millions of amputees who need a prosthesis.
What they do: Collect discarded prostheses, sockets, and liners in the United States (which are categorized as “medical waste”) and repurpose them for use by amputees in developing countries. A sizeable chunk of the waste stream is provided by partners such as Hanger and College Park.
Who they serve: Amputees in Asia and Central America who lack access to prosthetic technology and care. Penta is working on expanding into India, Northern Africa, and Western Africa. So far, Penta has delivered prosthetic devices to more than 1,300 amputees in six countries.
What they say: “I can’t think of any higher-value waste—waste that could have such a tremendous impact on somebody’s life—than prosthetic limbs. To treat them as medical waste is a shame, all the more so because these devices don’t rot. They’re not biodegradable.”—Henry Iseman, CEO of Penta Prosthetics
Get involved: Penta is growing rapidly and actively seeking partners for multiple parts of its operation. The organization seeks new relationships with health providers overseas, manufacturers and care providers in the United States, and partners who can offer logistical support, funding, publicity, and other forms of in-kind assistance.
Make a donation: https://pentaprosthetics.org/donate
Connect with Penta Prosthetics: On Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Have a creative idea for how to recycle a prosthesis? Enter Amplitude‘s Creative Solutions Contest.