Keynote addresses how to create sustainable solutions in developing countries

ORLANDO, Fla. — During the keynote address at the O&P World Congress, Heinz Trebbin, CPO, MSc discussed ways to create sustainable rehabilitation and education projects in developing countries.

Trebbin has been working in developing countries, including Tanzania, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Angola and El Salvador, since 1985 and discussed his experiences educating orthotists and prosthetists, as well as the rehabilitation of people with disabilities.


Heinz Trebbin

“Don’t make comparisons when you are working abroad, but try to understand the system you are in and then set realistic goals to measure impact and success,” he said. “You might get to the limits of your capabilities. Search for your strengths and weaknesses and get support in areas you can’t manage alone.”

According to Trebbin, in order to create sustainable solutions, it is important to establish partnerships with local organizations and care providers and continue the monitoring and development of established programs. He said it is also important to ask disabled persons in the local areas what specific needs should be addressed, establish formal and continuing education for health care providers, seek financial help from local parties and create appropriate technology that meets the specific needs of the local people.

Trebbin concluded his lecture by noting that 90% of all O&P needs are in developing countries, but 90% of the necessary resources are in industrialized countries. Practitioners should be encouraged to contribute by sponsoring patients, donate materials and components, contribute to scholarship funds and share their experiences with other practitioners.

For more information:

Trebbin H. USISPO keynote. Presented at: O&P World Congress. Sept. 18-21, 2013. Orlando, Fla.

Disclosure: Trebbin has no relevant disclosures.

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