Prostheses handed to 25 during training for technicians

Seated from left: Ariane Mangar, Director of Rehabilitation Services; Laura Burgess, Physiotherapist – ProsthetiKa; Dr. William Adu-Krow, Country Rep, PAHO/WHO; Volda Lawrence, Minister of Public Health; Cynthia Massay, Rehabilitation Officer, PRRC; Jon Batzdorff, CPO and Founder of ProsthetiKa; Eddy Fuentes, CPO – ProsthetiKa; and Collin Charles, Senior Prosthetic Technician, PRRC. Technical and rehabilitation personnel are standing at the rear after receiving their training certificates.

Prostheses were handed out to 25 amputees during a July 30th to August 11th  training regimen for technicians involved in making the devices.

The Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO), the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre (PRRC), the Disability & Rehabilitation Services programme of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and ProsthetiKa, a US –based non-profit organisation recently held a training programme to expand the capacity to deliver prostheses.

According to the press release from MoPH, the aim of the programme was to build the capacity of the technical staff of the National Orthotic & Prosthetic Appliance Workshop (NOPAW) and over the course of two weeks, 2 orthotic and prosthetic technicians, 3 orthotic and prosthetic trainees, 13 physiotherapists and occupational therapists and 12 rehabilitation assistants were engaged in training designed to enhance the programmes they provide in their respective fields in order to collectively improve he service delivery for persons with disabilities.

The release further added that the programme would be of immediate benefit to 25 persons with amputations who were successfully assessed, fitted with prostheses and provided with the necessary physical therapy and training to learn how to effectively utilise their new prosthetic limbs. 

The training was led by Jon Batzdorff, Certified Orthotist/ Prosthetist (CPO) and founder of ProsthetiKa, along with fellow colleagues Eddy Fuentes, CPO, and Laura Burgess, physiotherapist.  ProsthetiKa utilises a global network of highly trained professionals to provide support for persons with disabilities in developing countries.  On completing the programme, the team of specialists made several recommendations for devising a strategy/roadmap for long-term support for prosthetic as well as orthotic service delivery in Guyana through future training interventions.

The NOPAW was established in May 1994 and is the only facility in Guyana capable of manufacturing prosthetic limbs for persons with amputations, and orthotic devices including braces and splints for persons with orthopaedic conditions.  However, the Workshop has since faced significant challenges in the utilisation of current equipment and technology in orthopaedic and prosthetic production due to the limited opportunities for the training and professional advancement of new and existing orthotic and prosthetic technicians in Guyana. Therefore the introduction of new techniques and skills as well as upgrading the facility’s equipment was recognised as critical in effectively meeting the needs of patients.

Remarks on the necessity and continued support for such programmes were delivered by the  Volda Lawrence, Minister of Public Health, and Dr. William Adu-Krow, Country Representative of PAHO/WHO during the programme’s formal closing exercise on 10th August, 2018.

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