25th Jun 2017 9:10:49 AM

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Seifeddine Jaballah










In 2011 life changed yet again for Seif.
The political turmoil across northern Africa brought freedoms and uncertainty. While many might have seen Tunisia as a benevolent dictatorship in the past, with increasing freedom the benefits of certain high-quality health care are now no-longer certain.
Seif had been given Otto Bock prosthesis (false legs) made in Germany. He preferred the options that he found in South Africa at Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital in Johannesburg, which also used Kapab and had more choices of socket liners.
Seif also found the exercises useful and preferred the range of orthopaedic shoes.
Kerry Churchill made him exercise on the stairs using a pillow and on a treadmill to build endurance, adjusting the prostheses every three minutes.
Seif would like to return to South Africa, but with a change in government it is not clear if the new leaders will accept any culpability for the past at all.

Seifeddine Jaballah was a teenager sitting on a balcony in Tunis, Tunisia, in October 2008, talking to his sweetheart on the phone. A wire blew in the wind, touched his metal chair and 36,000 volts shot through him. He was taken to hospital and, so severe were the burns from electrocution, that both his lower legs had to be amputated. Seif was in a coma for more than a month.

Seif has survived but his life has changed for ever. He can no longer play his much-loved support, basketball.

He cannot walk far without chafing from the prosthesis. His upper arm is half the width it was, though Dr Amen Messadi continued trying to improve this for him.

Seif has, however, learned to drive a car with false legs and he is engaged to be married.

What career he will have, he still doesn't know.

Seif came from Children of Fire North Africa to join our activities in the Drakensberg mountains in October 2009.

He befriended other burns survivors from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Taiwan and South Africa.
Seif also visited Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital and, after excellent advice from Heinrich Grimsehl, hopes to return to South Africa in 2012 to get replacement prosthetic legs there.

It was a challenge to have a legless boy on a hiking trip from Dragons Peak mountain resort, but the SA National Parks Board kindly assisted with a horse and that allowed Seif to participate in many activities.

Seif is so confident of his abilities that he really wanted to attend the Mt Cameroon climb in January 2011 in Cameroon as well. However, there are few horses in Limbe or Buea and the terrain is too hard for horses to climb the slumbering volcano.

As Seif's burns were due to dangerous electricity, a legal case against the electricity supply company in Tunis was likely before the political regime changed.

Seif met Samkelo Radebe in Johannesburg. Samkelo lost both his hands and had other burns due to electrocution. Samkelo won a settlement in his case against Eskom and now a student lawyer himself, would be keen to give Seif and his family some legal pointers.

Useful references:
Psychological Adjustment and Coping in Adults with Prosthetic Limbs, Pamela Gallagher; Journal of Behavioural Medicine, Issue: Fall 1999.
Effects of Design Varians of Lower-Limb Prostheses on Gait Synergy, Journal of Prosthetic and Orthotics; Volume 9, Number 3, pages 113-122.

Seif's leg stumps. After amputation, the skin breaks down unless prosthesis are very well made.








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