Wednesday, May 25, 2022


John A. Zeffer

Dear Mr. Sommerville,

Please don’t misinterpret what I wrote. I do indeed understand the need for

orthotic equipment in Cambodia. Polio has run rampant due to the

interruption of medical services during the conflicts, and the children

affected should be considered war victims as are the victims of land mines.

What surprises me is that you are not aware of the various groups

delivering quality care in the country now. The interworkings of Handicap

International, Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, American Red Cross,

International Committee of the Red Cross, Cambodia Trust, and American

Friends Service Committee have as I stated, agreed upon a quality standard

of care that is succeeding in this country. Community Outreach Programs are

involved in bringing the needy to the fitting centers, and Community Based

Rehabilitation programs are going into the provinces to deliver care to

those who do not have means to travel.

Who will design and fit the orthoses and follow up the care you wish to

deliver with used equipment? Does Ability Quest have qualified

practitioners working towards those objectives?

My intent is not to challenge your stated mission, as much as to invite you

to align with programs succeeding in country now. Your fund raising efforts

would be well applied with contributions towards the already in place

programs that currently exist. “Parachuting” in with bags of used stuff is

not historically effective. I know that Vietnam Veterans of America

Foundation is in need of funds to buy prefabricated orthotics equipment for

children with club feet, as well as prefabricated hand orthotics. Please

read the following letter reposted with permission from Jo Nagles, CPO.

I hope this exchange is constructive and informative.

John Zeffer, CP

Vice Principal, Cambodia School of Prosthetics and Orthotics

>From: Jo Nagels


>Cc: Patrick ; Mike ; Larrie


>Sent: Monday, November 29, 1999 6:00 AM

>Subject: pre fabricated orthotic devices




>> Dear Tony,


>> By now you’ve been following the inquiry from Mr. Phil Sommerville

>> requesting orthotic and prosthetic of outgrown devices. You also got a

>> reply from the CSPO stating correctly that Cambodia is way beyond

>> modifying old

>> devices. They do have a good running school and a pool of Non Governmental

>> Organizations are manufacturing custom devices.


>> Myself I work in Phnom Penh and Hanoi for an American based organization

>> Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. Cambodia is not only dealing with

>> landmine victims but has also the burden of an orthotic population. An to

>> be compared as much

>> as there is a prosthetic case load. Yet the approach to crippled disease


>> minimum.


>> In Hanoi we are working in two hospitals, one is Bach Mai and the other


>> is NIP, National Institute for

>> children. In both place we deal with the orthotic case load. Since quite a

>> lot of NGO already deal with the prosthetic part we concentrate on the

>> orthotic part.


>> Your recent e-mail states ” If your organization would like to be

>> considered as a participant of our

>> donated components and services contributed by our, Where Hope Meets Help

>> Donor Club Members, please mail forward pertient information regarding


>> structure and infrastructure of your organization

>> and specific targeted countries for assistance. Also include a “wish list”

>> of required prosthetic components


>> True enough I would like to be considered as a participant of donated

>> componentry and the great help would be pre-fabricated hand-splints and


>> existing pre-fabricated devices for club feet. Do you think you can help

>> us.


>> My office in DC will forward you all information necessary requested by

>> your foundation to be in line with my request.


>> Mr. Jo Nagels, CPO

>> Regional Director Rehabilitation, Asia




At 07:33 PM 12/3/99 -0700, you wrote:

>Dear Mr Zeffer


>We work mostly with eastern europe however I was born in Cambodia and work

>with some children there. Perhaps in Phnom there are adequate facilities but

>there are still a great noumer of children that have no access to adequate

>equipment either orthotic or prosthetic. We tend to be able to re- use many

>parts especially joints and also adapt items if up to standard. I suggest you

>contact Borithy Lun if you are indeed unaware just how many kids need



>I have just left northern cambodia but will be back in a couple of weeks as I

>have to go to Roumania etc first.


>We are totally independent although three of our staff here are Cambodian


>If you would like to know more about us please give me a mailing address

and I

>will send you details in the new year or perhaps we can meet in Phnom. I have

>a house near Ankhor.


>Yours sincerely


>Phil Sommerville

>”Ability Quest”





>”John A. Zeffer” wrote:

>Dear Mr. Sommerville (or Rudy Chennault):

>I am interested in why you are soliciting for used equipment and funding

>for your project in Cambodia. I currently work in Cambodia and assure you

>that the needs of Cambodians for Orthopedic equipment has gone far beyond

>refurbishment of used parts. Indeed, after much development and

>coordination of the many Non Government Organizations involved in this

>work, it was decided that a standard of care was needed in this country and

>the ICRC technology was adopted as that standard. This went into effect in

>1994 and has continued successfully since. The Cambodian School of

>Prosthetics and Orthotics in Phnom Penh, produces 12 students a year from

>the three year curriculum that has met ISPO criteria, and this project is

>gauged to provide the country with P&O technologists in an ongoing fashion

>to satisfy future needs.


>John Zeffer, CP

>Vice Principal, CSPO


>At 07:04 PM 11/19/99 -0700, Rudy Chennault wrote:

>>Hi, I represent an association called ABILITY-QUEST and we are looking for

>>outgrown Childrens Orthotics and Prosthetics which could be adapted for

>use by

>>handicapped children in Cambodia, and Eestern Europe.


>>I am sure that there are clinics,orthopaedic services, orthopaedic and

>>prosthetic manufacturers and private individuals who have the items we are

>>looking for and would be happy to get rid of them.


>>We desperately need anything of this nature including childrens wheelchairs,

>>mobility devices and if anyone can help us FUNDING.


>>Our budget is extremely limited and our staff mostly voluntary and we are

>>unable to purchace so many of the things we need, this is why I am hoping


>>some of you in the profession, parents and others might just be able to help



>>You can contact me here,if you can help in any way.


>>all the best


>>Phil Sommerville.



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