Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Ottobock and association for disabled persons strengthen orthopaedic care in Rwanda

Joint project in cooperation with the Business Scout Programme and Spectaris

To improve access to orthopaedic care in Rwanda, Ottobock and the Rwandan organization UPHLS (The Umbrella of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities in the fight against HIV&AIDS and for Health Promotion) have developed and implemented training for rural health centers in Rwanda. The pilot project was supported by the Business Scouts for Development program on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in cooperation with the German industry association Spectaris and the East African Health Platform.

The aim of the project was to enhance the knowledge of health care providers in rural regions about disabilities and orthopedic care services in order to facilitate access to orthopedic workshops and specialized centers for people with physical impairments.

Strengthening orthopedic care

Compared to other African countries, Rwanda is already advanced in supporting people with physical impairments. However, the majority of orthopedic care facilities are located in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

For this reason, the project focused on equipping decentralized health care providers with knowledge about disability and rehabilitative orthopedic care. Training was also provided on early identification of disabilities or signs that could lead to physical disability in children.

The six-month project has been running since August 2021, with 15 trainings provided to mainly rural health centers. Participants included center management staff and health workers. Furthermore, four advocacy events were held at the provincial as well as on one at the national level.

Creating awareness and strengthening care

Ottobock and UPHLS developed the content for the trainings, created the materials and provided the trainers. Both organizations were key players in delivering the trainings on site. The training approach was to introduce a general knowledge about issues related to physical disabilities and to provide information on available rehabilitation and orthopedic service options so that local health workers can address the specific needs of people with physical disabilities and coordinate referrals to specialized hospitals.

"The project has helped raise awareness for Ottobock solutions in health centers. Among the participants were O&P professionals and physiotherapists.. It was a good opportunity to discuss rehabilitation services and the challenges they face in their daily work,” says Dominique Bizimana, Ottobock Sales Manager in Rwanda.