A training week each year
10 orthopedic technicians and 15 patients for each training week
Ability in physical rehabilitation
SLASA-Single Leg Amputee Sport Association
After an eleven-year brutal civil war, which ended in 2002, Sierra Leone is ranked among the last countries in the United Nations Human Development Index. Out of a total population of eight million people, 450’000 inhabitants of Sierra Leone (which represents almost the 18 % of the entire population) live with a disability.
There is no official data for amputations in Sierra Leone, patients are only noted when they visit hospitals and orthopedic centres. However, conservative estimates recognize that 12’000 people in Sierra Leone live without one or more limbs and need physical and psychosocial rehabilitation, and social integration.
Despite the high number of people with disabilities, there are only five orthopedic centres in the whole country: one in Freetown, one in Bo, two in Makeni and one in Koidu. Furthermore, there is alack of materials for the production of prostheses and orthoses and the staff employed is not qualified. In fact, only one technician in the whole Sierra Leone obtained a full training as an orthopedic technician with a five-year Bachelor of science from TATCOT (Tanzania Training Center for Orthopedic Technologists). Besides him, there are only four other technicians who have received training with a three-year diploma and three who have received one-year training. The rest of the staff is improvised, has learned everything by working but does not have a specific qualification to be able to practice it.
It is therefore necessary to provide the staff of orthopedic centers with adequate training, especially with respect to the new low-cost technologies designed specifically for Africa. For this reason, SwissABILITY organizes training modules for orthopedic centres in Sierra Leone, with the aim of providing new skills and knowledge to professionals and contributing to the donation of prostheses to amputees in the country.