worker's compensation corner with Maybin Nkholomba
INJURED workers in western countries are able to keep up with every day activities such as playing golf, running and walking to catch a bus without worrying whether the prosthetic limb, for those using this assistive aid, can help them make it through. However, our colleagues in this part of the world face permanent consignment to their homesteads, they cannot easily interact with others because of the type and nature of artificial limbs, being used to aid mobility. They simply cannot keep up with everyday life activities.
Now as improvement of the quality of life for workers disabled by occupational accidents and diseases is the foremost concern of WCFCB, we have found it extremely necessary and urgent to provide, within the compensation plan, advanced assistive aids to our clients. The first of these was a motorised wheel chair that we introduced some three years ago to aid mobility for highly disabled and in most cases bedridden pensioners. We will add to this prosthetic limbs manufactured by Ottobock, a Germany based organisation which has just opened offices in Zambia. Ottobock will supply the much awaited C- Leg to our pensioners, and this is good news indeed. The C-Leg, we are told is 500 times much clever than the ordinary natural leg, it is quite simply the world’s most technologically advanced microprocessor prosthetic leg.
And just what are the advantages of the C-Legs as compared to the ordinary artificial limb?
The C-Leg 4 continues to be the industry-leading tradition of improving outcomes for more than 60,000 fittings worldwide. With studies citing increased stability and reduced falls, the C-Leg 4 is weatherproof, can be controlled with the Android Cockpit app, and makes walking backward easier. Whether on sidewalk steps or dodging subway crowds, the C-Leg 4 helps transform the way a disabled person walks.
It is said that “no matter the terrain or the speed, the C-Leg 4 is always thinking about security—so you don’t have to”. Its sensors recognise when a person is in an insecure position, and during a trip or stumble, increases resistance to provide the support needed to recover balance. It facilitates speeding up, slowing down, and going downstairs.
The C-Leg makes real-time adjustments driven by 3D motion analysis. Since motion, as we are told, occurs in three dimensions, the C-Leg 4 uses sophisticated sensors to determine where it is in space at all times and to make precise adjustments at every moment of every step. As a result, C-Leg 4 allows easy navigation of ramps, stairs, and nearly every type of challenging surface – even when walking backwards.
The C-Leg 4 helps people master everyday life more confidently. With two additional modes the Prosthetist can set up the knee to help make activities like biking, dancing, or golfing easier. Switching modes is simple, as it only requires use of the cockpit app for Android, remote control, and motion pattern to quickly change the settings using Bluetooth technology.
The C-Leg 4 offers the choice of Intuitive Stance, which recognises that a person has stopped moving and dampens the knee in a slightly flexed position. This makes standing more comfortable and less tiring even on uneven surfaces, ramps, and slopes. This feature is sophisticated, adjusting and readjusting with every step in real time.
Readers can deduce from the advantages of the C-Leg 4 that people with occupational disabilities who require this type of aid will certainly enjoy life, like all other people once the items are procured.
We bring out information on the C-Leg 4 in order that readers can see what other services are provided by WCFCB other than just monthly cash payments. For us it becomes more critical that we facilitate survival of the victims of occupational accidents and diseases beyond monetary compensation and we are glad that our people are taking a proactive approach to ensure that highly disabled pensioners receive due attention.
These people are in dire need of social and medical support which our staff in rehabilitation have been providing to them on a regular basis. It is this side of compensation that we must understand to appreciate the role and purpose of the workers compensation system in Zambia. We too must understand that unless the story be told about the other side of compensation, our institution will be judged based on what has been made available in terms of service and information to the stakeholders.
We realise that our institution fell into the trap of most insurance firms which held strong belief in personal marketing in the past and as a result very little information was made available in order for people to appreciate insurance. Workers compensation is no exception, it has been known to suffer from clear lack of information on some of the services it provides, by stakeholders.
God bless you.
The author is Head – Communication & Customer Services Manager at Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board