New life after burnt arms

There is access to good health care in only a few countries in the world. Due to the lack of social systems, the level of care is extremely dependent on the wealth of individuals. This is exacerbated by wars and disasters.

This was also the case for little Akram. Like thousands of others, he fled with his family to Pakistan as a young boy to escape the war in Afghanistan. None of these people wanted to leave their homeland, but they had little choice. The decades-long war robbed them of any perspective.

From an early age, it was normal for Akram to help earn money so that the family could eat, drink, live and survive. To this end, he searched a scrap yard for valuable metals that could be sold.

But instead of useful material to pull out of the trash, Akram grabbed a poorly insulated power cable. The voltage burned his arms so badly that they had to be amputated. It was a miracle at all that Akram survived this incident.

Later, the family, like millions of others, returned to Afghanistan with Akram, now eight years old, despite an uncertain situation.

Thanks to the International Red Cross, Akram received prostheses, a stroke of luck for him. Although these prostheses are very simple, they enable him to cope with daily life. Iranian photographer Majid Saeedi photographed Akram, drawing attention to his fate and thus to tragic consequences of this war.

Majid Saeedi: Akram with prostheses © Majid Saeedi/Getty Images

Michael Tummings: Implant, 2020 © Michael Tummings

Because of wars - or their terrible legacy such as landmines - people lose arms, hands, legs or feet. Far too often, they also lose their lives.

In addition, catastrophes and deformities from birth massively restrict the daily lives of those affected especially when there is a lack of medical care. 

To help with such a dramatic reduction in quality of life, high-quality medical care and medical-technical support are needed.

If you live in the "right" country, you have the chance of truly excellent things. For example, medical implants and prostheses that are almost "real". Like, for example, Professor Berthold Meyer, himself a psychologist and born without a left forearm, who even makes music as a DJ in his spare time with a high-end prosthesis.

Advances in medical technology have been making impressive progress for decades. As a affected person, having access to high-tech medicine is a privilege. Michael Tummings is one of those few photographers who are allowed to accompany medical professionals in renowned clinics around the world during operations. His photographs are an impressive document of medical and medical-technical possibilities in this world, which unfortunately only a smaller part of the world population can access.

The photographer was born in Tehran. Saeedi began taking photographs at the age of 16 and has since photographed humanitarian disasters in many countries. His photos have been published in magazines such as  The Times, Der Spiegel, Life, The Washington Post, The New York Times and Time Magazine Among others, Majid Saeedi received the 2nd prize of the UNICEF Award 2010, for which he also submitted this photo.

The photographer is a close observer with his camera. Whether he accompanies hunters on their hunts, documenting interventions in the natural, or works on other projects, his focus is almost always on observing key moments. In 2020, Tummings was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: with appropriate stipulations, he was allowed to photograph surgeries in which high-tech implants help people regain the highest level of ability to cope with everyday life.