Realising the need to provide a quality rehabilitation service for the Sri Lankan disabled population, the Meththa Foundation-UK (MF) started in 1994 as a small but closely knit association of expatriate professional Sri Lankans in the UK. Some of those professionals were fully British qualified and accredited medical and technical practitioners in Rehabilitation Medicine, employed by the NHS-UK. MF gained Charity Status in the UK in 2010 (Charity Number 1135141). Today, the Foundation’s state registered sister Voluntary Service organisation in Sri Lanka, the Meththa Rehabilitation Foundation (MRF) is a well established prosthetics and orthotics service provider in that Island.
The work of MRF is pioneering and innovative. In 1994, the first Trustees of the parent Meththa Foundation-UK were aware of a long standing deficiency in rehabilitation services for Sri Lankan disabled people. They found an opportunity to obtain large quantities of high quality, modular prosthetic and other rehabilitation equipment from the NHS-UK at no cost. Realising the immense potential to serve disadvantaged Sri Lankan people, adopting the principle Waste Not-Want Not’, the Trustees began recycling those components in Sri Lanka under strict protocols to ensure safety.
Utilising the available resources optimally, it started clinical work as an ad hoc mobile service, first for Sri Lankan soldiers and later, for war injured people in Batticaloa District. Its sister organisation, the Meththa Rehabilitation Foundation Guarantee Ltd (MRFGL) was registered in Sri Lanka in 2013 as a non-profit company bearing registration number GL2162 in order to comply with government regulations.
Since then, it has established two modern rehabilitation centres at Maho and Mankulam, strategically situated alongside major transport routes, to deliver a premier yet cost effective service.
A regular mobile service linked with the stand alone services was also established in 2011 to cope with the demand from people living in remote areas with poor access. Approximately 30% of our services at Mankulam is provided through this service for people living in very remote areas in the North of Sri Lanka.
The Meththa Rehabilitation Foundation was registered as a Voluntary Services Organisation (L157505) in Sri Lanka in February 2017. It is unarguably the most modern Prosthetics and Orthotics service which provides a free service to Sri Lankans today.
These services have been recognised internationally and research is in progress with Manchester and Gulu universities to assess whether they can be replicated in Uganda. The MRF is having discussions with the Universities of Ruhuna (RUSL) in Sri Lanka and Salford in the UK regarding the development of the curriculum, syllabus and training programme for the newly established undergraduate Prosthetics and Orthotics course at the Faculty of Allied Health Science at the RUSL
Until now, the Meththa Foundations have depended on a constant supply of very good quality used as well as new prosthetic components from several large NHS Rehabilitation Centres in the UK. This supply is gradually dwindling due to several reasons. Therefore, we have been looking at becoming independent for components. Several R&D strategies have been adopted in this respect.