In common with our partners in Uganda and Jordan, the project teams in the UK have been working from home for several weeks now. While this presents some opportunities (no time lost in commuting, or travelling to meetings, and for me, glorious evening cycles along traffic-free roads in Manchester), it also undoubtedly presents challenges. At an individual level, those team members with young children are faced with the daily juggling of work and childcare/home schooling challenges. I suspect I am not alone in missing going to the pub – Indeed, one of the team, Mark Miodownik (@markmiodownik), is documenting on twitter each lockdown day with a different drink-related video!
More seriously, the lockdown also prevents the team members from carrying out any new experimental work and makes planning the remaining work in the project rather challenging. It has also presented Kenneth Rubango, who previously wrote about his exciting work on the development of a new supply chain for prosthetics here, with a number of challenges, as his skills are much in demand at the moment. On the plus side, we are finding time to write up our earlier results and now have three papers from the project in review, with a number of other papers in various stages of preparation. A pre-print of our review on activity monitoring in prosthetics, written in collaboration with a team working on another of the Global Challenges projects, can be found here. As an aside, Alix Chadwell has recently featured in an excellent podcast on her work in activity monitoring in prosthetics, which can be accessed here. The analyses of the interviews with people with upper limb absence in Uganda and Jordan, carried out earlier in the project, are coming together and we hope to share these results later in the year. The data are also proving very useful in guiding the design teams, both in terms of the designs themselves and the methods by which we might evaluate them. The development of methods to evaluate the designs, which is led by Ali Hussaini, has caused me to reflect on the extent to which commonly used upper limb outcome measures align with the priorities of the majority of upper limb amputees, who live in lower or middle income countries. We will share more details on this work over the coming months. Anyhow, in common with, I’m sure all of us, I’m looking forward to the time when this horrible situation passes and we can get back to (perhaps a new) normal!
Take care, and stay safe!