In developing countries, 0.5% of the population need a prosthesis or orthosis but less than 13% of that number will be able to get one. People often assume that the way we help is by sending out to Malawi and Zambia surplus supplies of the components and materials we use in the UK – even second hand devices. We don’t because we are trying to help establish ongoing, sustainable and affordable prosthetic and orthotic services within these countries. On the recommendation of the World Health Organisation for developing countries the in-country manufacturing system we use and promote in our projects is polypropylene technology.

Malawi & Zambia


500 miles has two Centres in Malawi, both run in cooperation with the Malawian Ministry of Health (MoH).

The first 500 miles Centre was built in the grounds of Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, the capital. Managed and funded for MoH by 500 miles, it has carried out over 3,500 patient fittings since opening in March 2009. Our aim is for it to serve the whole of central region of Malawi. You can read more here →

The second 500 miles Centre, in the grounds of Mzuzu Central Hospital in Mzuzu in the north of Malawi, opened to patients in November 2012. We intend this Centre eventually to serve the whole of northern region of Malawi. You can read more here →


Much has changed for our activities in Zambia. Please watch this space for an update in the coming days.


The long-term success of all of 500 miles’ projects depends on us ensuring that there are sufficient well-trained Malawian, Zambian and Zanzibari prosthetists and orthotists to provide a high quality service which is not dependent on ongoing expatriate support. Therefore the key element of 500 miles’ input in all three countries is sponsorship of training. If the current cohort of 7 students qualifies, 500 miles will have sponsored 17 African technicians. You can read more here →