Orthopaedic technician innovate Kenya’s first Hip Spica Table to manage fractures in Children

Lawrence Otieno - Communications & Marketing | 02 March, 2021

Featured Image: phpW2m4IL.jpg

For the past 19 years, Zacharia Kimengich has worked in hospitals treating fractures in children. He recognized that a lack of suitable equipment was hindering patients’ recoveries and, in some cases, leaving them with deformity leading to disabilities.

The resident of Kabartonjo, Baringo County experienced the use of jerrycans and even wooden stools to treat fractures. This moved him to find a solution, and with his partner Dr. Peter Njoroge – an orthopaedic surgeon at the Kenyatta National Hospital, they developed the Hip Spica table with double extension traction, which allows fractured thigh and hip bones inchildren to be reset much more effectively.

Most hospitals in Kenya do not have right equipment to help in addressing fractures. Some use crude methods, for instance a pair of jerrycans they deploy in aligning broken limbs. This usuallyends up in misaligned or shortened limbs. The process is also very painful and expensive," Kimengich says.

The duo initiated the innovation in 2015 and developed the Hip Spica table with double extension traction, which enables orthopaedic technicians and orthopaedic surgeons to treat children’s femoral and hip fractures more effectively. The adjustable table allows the technician to move the patient easily and change the position of the patient’s foot while minimizing discomfort, enabling them to better manipulate and manage the fracture.

We didn’t have the right tools to straighten the bones; my vision has always been on how to manage children better whenever they have a fracture.

It became clear to me that fractures were causing children to suffer unnecessarily, sometimes resulting in life-changing disabilities. I knew that if we only had the right equipment, we could rapidly improve the quality of life of these patients,” Kimengich states.

The graduate of the Kenya Medical Training College believes that the management of fractures in children under the age of six has been a widespread, long-term problem in Kenya. Without access to suitable equipment, which is expensive, treatment of young patients is often prolonged, leading to unnecessary suffering and discomfort. In some cases, children may even need to undergo surgery or have their limb shortened due to the fracture not being aligned correctly.

Incubated at the Chandaria Business and Incubation Center, the innovation has eased the work in management of children’s fractures, since the work previously done by over four personnel can now be done by only two personnel.

The 2017 Leaders in Innovation Fellowship (LIF) grantee underwent 2 weeks training at the Royal Academy for Engineers in London and is focused on the SDG goal 3, to ensure healthy lives and SDG 17 that promotes well-being for all at all ages. Kenya is a signatory to the SDGs.

Kimeng'ich and the KeNIA CEO

Kimeng'ich and the KeNIA CEO

The innovators have donated 5 hip spica tables to Kenyatta National Hospital, Mbagathi hospital, Thika hospital, Mama Lucy hospital and the Nairobi Spine and Orthopedic center, and are aiming to ensure that the hip spica tables are available in hospitals across the 47 counties in Kenya.

OrthoPediatrics Spica Tables offers surgeons a properly engineered device for casting procedures. The device enables the user to carefully hold hip or femur reduction and take fluoroscopic images of the patient before application of the hip spica cast.

Currently, importing a spica table from the United States costs in excess of Ksh. 500,000 and the innovators believe that the innovation will greatly transform the Kenyan health sector as it can be acquired at a significantly lower cost of Ksh. 70,000.