After years of destructive wars and many landmines left behind, Mozambique, on the border of South Africa (SA), had seen many of its residents injured and having limbs amputated.
When Marta Vânia Uetela saw that 90% of amputees in her home country could not access prosthetic limbs, she made a plan to ensure that these mostly young people could live lives free of restraint as a result of their injuries. Uetela founded BioMec to increase access to artificial limbs at reasonable prices. Using discarded ocean plastic, she is providing prosthesis for those who lost their limbs under the knee.
At BioMec, it only takes 250g of discarded fish netting and six plastic bottles to create a cheap, functional and comfortable artificial limb. While changing lives, this innovative young woman is also saving the environment and the ocean from the hazards of plastic waste.
Mozambique’s residents are poor and many do not have access to health care. Uetela’s research also showed how especially children battle as expensive artificial limbs need to grow with them and needed to be regularly replaced. With few changes, existing prosthesis can be turned into new ones at BioMec.
BioMec’s business principles rest on positive climate change, recycling and harmony with nature by re-purposing harmful plastic materials to empower amputees to live fruitful and productive lives. A young, dynamic team, believing in caring for the Earth’s finite resources, consists of students and graduates highly skilled in design, medicine, engineering and chemistry.
Uetela’s main interest lies in alternative products which provide answers to climate change and make a difference. Her housing construction company, Minimal LivingBox, which construct offices and homes from containers, won the best start-up in Mozambique award from energy giant, Total and saw her designs being selected as one of the Top 3 start-ups in Africa last year and also win an international prize from the Commonwealth. She then turned her attention towards prosthetic solutions to improve the lives of amputees by providing biomechanical solutionsthrough engineering.
Her plans for BioMec include further reducing costs of these prostheses, improving access to artificial limbs and working towards designing it with increased compatibility and comfort. To do this, Uetela also aims to increase recycling to at least 20% of discarded plastic from Mozambique’s most polluted beach in Maputo.
This inspiring young woman is proof that, with passion and determination, a difference can be made. Believing in radiating positive energy, she believes that BioMec can change the future for amputees in Mozambique.
Uetela can be followed on Facebook and Instagram or can be contacted on email@example.com