ATLANTA — Gebreyesus Girmatsyion, CTPO, who practiced O&P in Ethiopia before coming to the United States in 1999, discussed the current state of O&P in Africa during his presentation at the International African American Prosthetic and Orthotic Coalition Annual Meeting.
“At this time, it is important for more private practices to give services to the needy patients of Africa,” Girmatsyion told O&P News.
Girmatsyion, who received his O&P training in Germany and works as a technician at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, said that the field of O&P, including education, is limited in Africa.
There are five internationally recognized O&P schools in Africa and nine additional nationally recognized O&P schools on the continent, he said. The two leading African countries in O&P are Tanzania and South Africa, which have universities that offer bachelor’s degrees in O&P.
Among organizations that are active in helping to develop O&P in Africa, Girmatsyion mentioned the the Fédération Africaine des Techniciens Orthoprothésistes (FATO) and the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO). Eight countries in Africa have IPSO member societies.
Of Africa’s 54 countries, 24 countries in Africa are members of FATO, with 15 of those countries being active members and recognized by FATO. The organization is working to establish a Pan African association of teaching institutions, he said. Among FATO partners are Otto Bock, according to Girmatsyion’s presentation.
“FATO is the hope and the future of orthotics and prosthetics in Africa,” Girmatsyion said.
He also said he believes the growth of private practices in O&P will benefit the continent. – Bruce Thiel
Germatsyion G. Prosthetics & orthotics in Africa. Presented at: International African American Prosthetic and Orthotic Coalition Annual Meeting; Oct. 26-28; Atlanta.
Disclosure: Germatsyion reports no relevant financial disclosures.