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Reaching Beyond
Our Borders

Ukraine Prosthetic Assistance Project – Report to USISPO from Jon Batzdorff

Based on conversations with the amputee veterans and prosthetists in Ukraine, it became clear that there was a need for help in the area of prosthetics and related rehabilitation. Specifically they needed assistance in fitting upper extremity and highly involved lower extremity amputees. The discussion that began in November developed into the ProsthetiKa Ukraine Prosthetic Assistance Project.

Ukrainian Canadian Congress Toronto and Canada Ukraine Foundation agreed to lead the project, and Jon Batzdorff of ProsthetiKa agreed to organize the technical aspects and assemble a team of…

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Batzdorff's Teaching
in Tanzania

Jon Batzdorff was contacted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) / Special Fund for the Disabled to provide training in fitting above-the-knee amputees with ischial containment sockets.

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Al Ingersoll Working
in Bangladesh

Al Ingersoll, CPO, USISPO Education Chair

I was fortunate to visit Bangladesh this past year and meet with numerous people and organizations focused on the disability/rehabilitation sector. Bangladesh is well served by local organizations, (BRAC)

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USISPO Develops Code of Conduct for Humanitarian Assistance

Code of Conduct for Prosthetic and Orthotic Nongovernmental Humanitarian and Development Assistance

  1. An organization providing prosthetic/orthotic/mobility aid shall not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, nationality or political party in the selection of its projects or in the conduct of its operations.
  2. Assistance shall not require any political or religious endorsements or behavior in order to receive benefits.
  3. Assistance organizations shall respect the local customs and culture of the communities it serves.
  4. When possible, all attempts shall be made to encourage and support local capacity for providing prosthetic and orthotic and mobility services, including evaluations, fabrication, follow up and replacement.
  5. When possible, attempts shall be made to avoid creating dependence of the local community on the NGO for future follow up, adjustments, replacements, or for additional materials and supplies.
  6. In order to avoid creating ongoing dependence, when possible, materials will be used which can be found or acquired locally.
  7. Attempts will be made to assure that existing local service providers are not adversely affected by the organization's activities such as when the organization provides services to recipients who would otherwise be served by local service providers.
  8. When possible attempts will be made to coordinate efforts, planning, and delivering of services with the local community, with local service providers and with the recipients of the service.
  9. Though humanitarian assistance responds to emergency needs and may not consider developing local capacity as its primary goal, the organization should, when possible, include development efforts in its programming.

Numerous organizations now offer prosthetic, orthotic and mobility assistance to communities in developing countries. Assistance ranges from direct fittings, donations of materials, supplies, used prostheses, wheelchairs, and shoes, to building clinics and training local practitioners.

Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) claim to be humanitarian and may have the best of intentions but are in fact disruptive to the community they serve. Some provide free services which drive local prosthetists out of business, some introduce new techniques which require components or materials that are difficult to obtain locally and thereby encourage dependency.

Borrowing from the efforts and ideas of the International Committee of the Red Cross which developed a "Code of Conduct" for disaster relief, US ISPO developed a "Conduct for International Non-Governmental Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Mobility Assistance".

The Code generally suggests that aid should not have political or religious strings attached, that building and supporting local capacity is valued over blindly handing out direct services or materials, and that every attempt is made to avoid creating dependence.

Jonathan Batzdorff, chair of the International Outreach Committee of US ISPO explained, "The Code of Conduct is strictly voluntary. Organizations are asked to look at the Code, and to adopt and abide by its principles. We are not trying to police the activities of NGO's, only to maintain the high integrity and reputation of the prosthetics and orthotics assistance community, and to codify our ethical standards."

For more information contact Jonathan Batzdorff, CPO.


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