Concrete help

The area around Léogâne is the most severely affected by the destruction. The Otto Bock Foundation is facing up to this challenge by contributing to the reconstruction of a medical technology infrastructure. This is being done on-site in close collaboration with active partners such as the Johanniter Unfallhilfe (first aid organisation). The first step was the establishment by the Johanniter Unfallhilfe of a treatment camp in Léogâne with a mobile orthopaedic workshop. Here patients are now being fitted with orthopaedic devices such as prostheses and orthoses. This became possible around April of 2010, because of the time needed for the wound-healing phase following the amputations. The aid organisations actively involved on-site are striving to move into permanent structures as soon as possible. Machines and equipment used to date in mobile and temporary facilities will be transferred during this process for subsequent use.

Sustainability through training
In the meantime, in addition to providing fittings for amputees, experienced international experts have begun educating trainees in Léogâne. "In order to build a sustainable, self-supporting structure through the deployment of international helpers, it is essential to develop the qualifications of local workers early on so that they can provide fittings independently over the long term," so an experienced Otto Bock prosthetist who cared for patients at the Léogâne treatment camp for four weeks on behalf of the Otto Bock Foundation and provided seminars for trainees. Therefore, building infrastructure also means creating educational opportunities within the country. If this is met with success, it will mean that the treatment situation will be better than it originally was before Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, experienced the earthquake.

Specialist knowledge and practical experience
The Otto Bock Foundation considers the provision of training to be a key task requiring a committed effort for at least three to six years. Education as a prosthetist requires a 3-year training programme. The theoretical fundamentals of orthopaedics technology are imparted in a correspondence course with regular on-site training in Port au Prince. Practical experience is accumulated in the respective treatment facilities by the side of experienced prosthetists. Based on the current requirements and capacities, it appears highly likely that another training period will be launched after this one is concluded.

Scholarships for prospective prosthetists
The goal is to qualify local trainees, who apply for this course of study, with an internationally recognised diploma. This means there are costs that must be covered: tuition fees, travel expenses to Port au Prince, educational materials and more. The Otto Bock Foundation is providing scholarships for five or more students so that they can complete this vocational training.

Furthermore, the Otto Bock Foundation intends to finance the dispatch of additional fitting specialists in order to provide the best possible treatment for people after especially complex amputations.

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Even today Haiti still presents a scene of destruction.
Obtaining water with most primitive means.
Harry Zenner (OB technician) checks a patient's residual limb conditions.
A plaster casting of the residual limb provides a so-called plaster negative. The greater the precision with which it is created, the better the connection between the body and the prosthesis will be later.
A trainee has used the plaster negative to prepare a plaster positive. Harry Zenner supervises the craftwork.
Now a heated plastic sheet is pulled over the plaster positive. This method, which leads to the creation of a patient-customised socket is called vacuum forming.
Created on the basis of the plaster positive, the prosthesis socket is seen here now being further processed by a trainee.
The mobile workshop houses all the technical orthopaedic devices and machines that are necessary for manufacturing a prosthetic shaft.
Little Shoot requires a transfemoral prosthesis that needs to be adapted again and again to the course of growth.
Shoot learning to walk again with his transfemoral prosthesis.
Assistants provide encouragement and do not leave their patients to themselves.
Initially Shoot still requires walking aids.
Little Shoot in the circle of his family.
Sneily has received a transtibial prosthesis and can now play with a ball again.
Right from the start Sneily gets along well with her new prosthesis.
Concrete help for Sneily and Choute: transfemoral prosthesis and transtibial prosthesis.

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