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Affordable prosthetics in Africa made possible by 3D printing

Merel van der Stelt, student of Technical Medicine at the UT, and surgical resident Lars Brouwers are setting up a crowd-funding project for a 3D-Lab at the Masanga Hospital in Sierra Leone. Their objective: Affordable prosthetics in Africa. They do this in collaboration with the Technical Medicine department at the University of Twente and under the supervision of the 3D-Lab at Radboudumc. The 3D-Lab will manufacture affordable high-quality prosthetics, splints and braces using 3D printing technology. Merel van der Stelt is currently doing an internship at the 3D-Lab at Radboudumc. Lars Brouwers works at the Elizabeth Tweesteden Hospital (ETZ) in Tilburg and is a co-founder of this 3D-Lab. The minimum required funding of 6000 euros must be achieved by 9 October 2019. 

Lars and Merel, in collaboration with NASF (Nederlands Albert Schweitzer Fonds), are setting up a crowd-funding project to realise their dream of a fully functional 3D-Lab in Sierra Leone. Merel: “We are highly committed to further realising this project and we are eager to get started. Using limited resources, the project will offer patients in low-wage countries the chance of a better future, so that they will not have to live in difficult circumstances or even be excluded from society because of their disability.”

NASF has appointed Lars Brouwers and Merel van der Stelt as NASF Pioneers in Health Care to help them realise their dream. An NASF Pioneer in Health Care is a person who is creating new routes and fields for healthcare in Africa, following in the footsteps of Albert Schweitzer.


Lars and Merel need your support to realise the 3D-Lab. You can make a donation via All donations go directly to the realisation of the 3D-Lab. For additional information:


Mariatsu is a young Sierra Leonean woman in her early thirties. She hides her left arm under her skirt. She is ashamed about her missing hand, a reminder of the civil war that raged in the country until 2002. Thousands of people were mutilated; their limbs were hacked off. People like Mariatsu do not take part in society; they are excluded and live in severe poverty. But, if it is up to Dutch student of Technical Medicine Merel van der Stelt (25) and surgical resident Lars Brouwers (31), this is about to change. They created a prosthesis for Mariatsu using the latest 3D-printing technology. A revolutionary innovation that can make affordable prosthetics possible for thousands of patients in Africa. Mariatsu proudly shows her new arm to anybody who wants to see it. She makes full use of her prosthetic arm. She is once again part of society and looks to the future with confidence.

drs. J.G.M. van den Elshout (Janneke)
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