On September 29, Brazilian Congresswoman Flávia Moraes (PDT-GO), who also is a member of the Committee on Labor, Public Service, and Administration, announced the approval of Bill No. 5635-A, from 2005. The proposal, which defines the O&P professional as the one who performs the function of making custom orthoses, prostheses, and orthopedic shoes and insoles in his/her own workshop, now goes to the Constitution and Justice Commission of the House of Representatives. The announcement was made at the II Congresso Latino American e VIII Congresso Brasileiro de Ortopedia Técnica (2nd Latin American Congress and the 8th Brazilian Congress for Prosthetics and Orthotics).
The Associação Brasileira de Ortopedia Técnica (ABOTEC), known in English as the Brazilian Association for Prosthetics and Orthotics, took a step in the process to regulate the O&P profession in Brazil. “The association defends the interests of people with disabilities and struggles for a change in the granting of orthoses and prostheses in Brazil,” said Joaquim Cunha, president of ABOTEC. “In addition, ABOTEC plays an important role in the training and development of professionals responsible for the production of these technical orthopedic devices by means of periodic courses and conferences.”
“We managed to approve the bill in the Committee on Labor, Public Service, and Administration, Moraes said. “We have to value the work of these professionals who contribute to the rehabilitation of users of orthoses and orthopedic implants. I…know the importance of the regulation of orthopedic orthotists and prosthetists for the advancement in the treatment of people with disabilities.”
Professionals are assigned the following functions: assisting in the prescription of the prosthesis and orthosis; initial patient evaluation and interpretation of the prescription; making measurements and molds for the fabrication of prostheses or orthoses; fabrication and adaptation of these prostheses to the patients; instructions on how to use, clean, and maintain the devices; and follow-up monitoring of all the patients’ progress records.
During the submission of the bill to the Committee on Social Security and Family (CSSF) of the House of Representatives, the technical requirements for the profession were defined. In addition, the term “orthopedic” was added to the designation of orthopedic prosthetists and orthotists.
“The approval of the bill brings recognition to professionals who rescue the dignity of people with disabilities in our country, being a part of the rehabilitation process of patients,” Cunha said. “We appreciate the support of professionals like Congresswoman Flavia Moraes for the regulation of the profession that has existed for over 100 years, but is not recognized in Brazil.”
For Congresswoman Flavia Moraes, ABOTEC helps bridge the gaps in O&P care in the country and contributes to the recognition of O&P professionals. “ABOTEC is an important organization for the integration of knowledge, technology, and innovation with regard to orthopedic prostheses and orthoses in Brazil.”