The state of prosthetics and orthotics services is in serious need of attention in low-income countries, where the services have remained in a stagnant or declining condition for years. This fact is no secret, and the issue was examined at length in a comprehensive, multi-year study that involved 35 national and international organizations connected to O&P services.
Endorsed by the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) and financed and facilitated by Landmine Survivors Network (LSN), United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), and the Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation (SDC), the Prosthetics and Orthotics Program Guide and Project Guide were designed to lay out a “common approach for organizations implementing aid projects–a summary of good practices built for the service user so that the maximum number of persons can access P&O services,” according to the guide’s authors.
The Program Guide outlines 54 features deemed as keys for the condition of long-term, sustainable, and efficient services, as well as external factors that directly influence the success of a service provision. As detailed by the authors, the Program Guide was based on the following points:
- The overall goal of an O&P program is to enable the full and effective participation and inclusion in society by persons with disabilities–a basic human right.
- O&P programs must work closely with other rehabilitation services in an integrated and holistic approach to disability in order to achieve the previous point.
- O&P programs must be built for and around the service user, who must be consulted in the different phases of planning and running of services. The service user also must have a role in the monitoring and evaluation of these programs.
- O&P programs must be planned so the maximum number of persons can access O&P devices of acceptable quality.
“This was a highly collaborative and consultative effort,” said LSN Director of Rights and Advocacy Kirsten Young from Geneva, Switzerland. Until recently, there had been a lack of significant collaborative planning among the key organizations on an international level.” The guides were launched in April 2007 at a presentation supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on behalf of LSN.
O&P Donations Find a New Home
Clearinghouse to provide a one-stop giving and receiving venue for prosthetic and orthotic donations.