As many of you know, I have been living and working in Guatemala for almost seven months now, and we have made some excellent progress in our work to bring affordable prosthetic arms to amputees living in poverty. Here are some highlights:
Two amputee patients, Mariano and Victor, have now been using the OpenSocket for ten months since they received their devices during our October 2011 field test in Guatemala. Both individuals live in mountain communities in the Department of Zacapa, and they are using their prostheses to farm and make a living for their families. I have been visiting each of them every two months to do a periodic check-in on the comfort and function of their prostheses, and to listen to their thoughts for improvement. Aside from a couple of minor repairs, they have continued to benefit from using their arms without a problem. These tests have informed some important changes to the OpenSocket's design and confirmed its ability to function and be comfortable for a long period of time.
In July, we entered into an 18 month-long collaboration with the Universidad del Valle in Guatemala City which consists of a team of senior-level engineering students planning a production and distribution model for the OpenSocket in Guatemala. That same month we successfully produced its first OpenSocket made in Guatemala at the ROMP clinic, exclusively using materials and components purchased in Guatemala. Our production process is continuing to develop, and we are hoping that Guatemala will start to play a role in the production of the OpenSocket.
We have spoken to a number of hopsitals, clinics, and nongovernmental organizations working with amputees in Guatemala, and there has been an extremely warm reception to the OpenSocket. There has been special interest from the hospitals conducting amputations that this device could serve as an immediate post-operative device, and continued interest from the clinics and nongovernmental organizations who cannot provide custom-fit prostheses to every individual but would instead like to use our rapid-fitting option. Two weeks ago, we partnered up with SHINE-El Salvador to permanently deploy another OpenSocket with a patient in El Salvador who lost her arm in a fireworks factory explosion. The rapid fit of the OpenSocket allowed us to deploy the arm quickly, and the patient is excited to be using a new arm. Our partnerships with these organizations have reaffirmed the need for the OpenSocket, and established key partners who will be early adopters of our technology.