Wednesday, 09. August 2017
Extending expertise to Cuba
International O&P School has trained a further ten technicians from emerging markets
Ottobock's International O&P School boosts the transfer of expertise in emerging markets. The ten participants from what was already the fourth training year returned to their home countries at the end of July following successful completion of their examinations. Cuba was represented by four young O&P professionals. They now intend to use their newly acquired knowledge to help increase the standard of fittings in a market which still has significant catching up to do but offers exciting prospects for development.
After spending ten months together in Duderstadt, the team’s emotions at the closing party were mixed as they bid one another farewell and looked ahead to the future. Alejandro Vidal Pérez Delgado said, “I will always carry the friendships that started here with me in my heart.” Lisandra Céspedes Pileta emphasised, “The things I learned about technology here will help me to provide my patients with better fittings after I return home.”
Another participant was Eriel Castillo Ramirez. As a technician in Havana in April 2015, he had the opportunity to experience how Heinrich Popow’s Running Clinic acted as a key initial spark for Ottobock’s involvement in Cuba, and for him personally as well: “Life has been like a dream since then.” No one will forget how Popow motivated Malu Perez Iser of Cuba to take up sport with a prosthesis even though her job was simply to sit at a desk and organise the team of participants. Perez Iser took the bronze medal in the long jump in Rio a year later, and all of Havana celebrated with her. And the city was joined by Ottobock President Hans Georg Näder and the man who discovered her, Heinrich Popow.
Markus Goldmann, Training Manager at the International O&P School was pleased to note: “The level of training he now has will enable Eriel to provide these athletes with a professional standard of treatment.” Goldmann, too, was at the Running Clinic in Havana and has visited Cuba many times since the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ) began to assist Ottobock in supporting a further training project for Cuban O&P professionals in 2015. This assistance is provided via develoPPP.de, a programme that the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) uses to promote innovative projects initiated by companies which have significant, long-term benefits for local people in developing and emerging markets.
The joint training initiative with Ottobock will continue to run until December 2018. One component of this is the training which has now been completed in Duderstadt, and the other component consists of eight seminars in Cuba, three of which have taken place thus far. Professor Näder has also sponsored the renovation of a workshop at the state’s Centro Nacional de Ortopedia Técnica (CNOT) in Havana in the form of machines, hand tools and other equipment. Two of the technicians who have now received further training in Duderstadt work at the CNOT.
The International O&P School focuses very deliberately on training with a strong practical orientation. “The students were in direct contact with patients on 74 out of the 174 working days,” Goldmann notes. “Each fitting was carried out just as it would be in a medical supply company.” In addition, more modern products are introduced step-by-step based on the level of technical development in the students’ home countries. A total of 29 technicians from 13 countries have received instruction as part of the regular training programme thus far.
The fourth participant from Cuba, Lesko Nivardo Antomarchi Noris, extended his thanks to those who taught and organised the programme in Duderstadt: “My expectations were far exceeded, both in terms of the professional and the personal experiences that I’ve had during these months.”