Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and Hanger Orthopedic Group Inc. have partnered to help improve the treatment and lives of victims of landmines in Colombia injured during the decades-long conflict that has affected the country.
Since 2002, there have been at least 7,700 registered survivors of landmine incidents, with the number growing by approximately 30 each month. While the government of Colombia has made great strides in addressing the problem, the development of a local infrastructure to provide prosthetic treatment to survivors is lagging and the government has asked for assistance from the international community, according to a press release.
Sikorsky and Hanger Orthopedic Group will provide assistance to the Colombian government by targeting gaps in the current state of care for amputee patients. Initial efforts will focus on training and development of in-country capabilities. Sikorsky is providing four scholarships to Colombian students to attend Hanger’s Certificate Program for Prosthetics in Newington, Conn., where they will complete an intensive 9 month course and internship that prepares them to become qualified clinicians trained in patient assessment, prosthetics fitting and fabrication. The students will then return to Colombia to work in the Central Military Hospital Prosthetics Laboratory.
In addition to the scholarship program, Hanger will team up with the returning students and staff to conduct a comprehensive in-country clinic to help alleviate the backlog of patients needing care. The clinic is scheduled for this summer and will be funded by Sikorsky.