1998 YT Person of the Year AHMED HAMOUD AL-SAQQAF [Archives:1999/01/Front Page]
Mr. Ahmed Hamoud Al-Saqqaf (no relation to YT Chief Editor) is the General Manager of the Prosthetics and Physiotherapy Center. Happily married, Al-Saqqaf, 49, holds a BA in military sciences. He had served in several posts in the military before he took up his current and much cherished job.
For a decade and a half, Ahmed has been serving victims of landmines, accidents, and other catastrophes that result in loss of limbs. The way he has gone about it has been exemplary. That is expected of a man who is himself a victim.
His legs were amputated following a mine-explosion while on military duty at Jabal Raas in the Tihama in 1982. He was treated in France. But he continued to suffer for some time due to lack of maintenace and repair services to his legs locally.
Then came a chance for him to do something about it.
In 1984, he was appointed general manager of the faltering Prosthetics and Physiotherapy Center in Sanaa.
The center had been founded in 1978, but was formally opened 4 years later. It was a small, 2-room work-shop in an old house in Al-Bouniyya, Sanaa. Its work was limited to repairing imported artificial limbs.
Saqqaf changed all that.
Today, the center is a large facility with modern physiotherapy equipment. Located in a spacious complex next to the Ministry fo Health, it produces good-quality artificial limbs and other disability devices.
The 66 local employees (53 male and 13 female), and 19 non-Yemeni staff work diligently to help people in need.
Saqqaf and his staff have helped more than 1,000 victims. His dedication, professionalism, and above all, his clean hand have extended the center’s outreach and services.
“I know what it means to be forced to stay put. Giving someone mobility changes his/her life totally. It is someting that adds meaning to living,” he says.
That is probably why he supports whole-heartedly the on-going mine-clearing program and efforts to re-habilitate victims.
He helped establish branches in Aden, Taiz and Hadhramaut. “We were surprised by this man. He worked hard with us to train staff, provide equipment, etc., in launching a branch center.
At the end of the work, we offered to give him a ‘gift’. He was very offended. It is rare in our country today to see such dedication to duty. It is even more rare to see people who will not ask for, let alone take, money once it was offered,” said Sheikh Mahfooz Shammakh, Chairman of the Hadhramaut Charity Society. Read Complete Interview