TORONTO, Canada – December 4 – cbm Canada – a world leader in serving people living with disabilities in the poorest countries of the world – announces the formation of Nia Technologies Inc. (http://niatech.org) and the appointment of Jerry P. Evans as Nia’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
Nia is a not-for-profit social enterprise that is developing and deploying 3D-printed prosthetic and orthotic solutions in the developing world (known as “3D PrintAbility”). “Nia” means “purpose” in Swahili, and Nia Technologies’ mission is to use technology for a higher purpose.
In response to the massive need for prosthetic appliances among the poorest children of the world, cbm Canada initiated a partnership with the University of Toronto and Autodesk Research. “We were looking for a way to make faster and better prosthetics in rural Africa,” says Ed Epp, Executive Director of cbm Canada. “We figured 3D printing technology could give us huge gains in efficiency. That’s how 3D PrintAbility was born.”
Epp explains, “We decided to launch Nia as a separate enterprise, because we believe that developing innovative technologies to equip hospitals in poorer countries requires the full attention of a governance board and a leadership team. And it needs the nimbleness of a dedicated entity. It’s about using technology to help more people with better services.”
Nia has conducted clinical evaluations at CoRSU hospital in Uganda and anticipates additional clinical trials elsewhere to ensure that its prosthetic and orthotic solutions are safe, effective and efficiently built from durable, high-quality materials.
Evans reports, “Roseline, a four-year-old Ugandan girl, was Nia’s first patient. She was born without a right foot. Roseline now wears a 3D-printed prosthetic socket manufactured using Nia’s 3D PrintAbility solution. Roseline can walk, run and play alongside other children for the first time in her life.”
In addition to providing prosthetic sockets, Nia is planning to extend its clinical trials and product offerings to include ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs), for which there is considerable need in the developing world.
The World Health Organization estimates that there is a global shortage of 40,000 trained prosthetists, and there are millions of children in desperate need of prosthetic and orthotic assistance. Evans states, “Nia’s 3D PrintAbility materially increases the productivity of today’s prosthetists, enabling them to reach more children facing daily challenges of poverty and disability, which all too often co-exist in the developing world.”