The workshop staff adjusts each prosthesis precisely to the patients. Photo: humedica/Daria Napieraj
The humedica prostheses and orthoses workshop in Port-au-Prince
Nearly four years have passed, since the strongest earthquake of America’s history, within seconds, took the lives of more than 300,000 people, caused a great number of injuries and has forced nearly two million people to a life as homeless. Four years who have not passed without trace – which could not have passed without trace.
humedica media coordinator Daria Napieraj has visited the Centre for prostheses and orthoses, established by humedica in Port-au-Prince a short time after the severe earthquake, and was very impressed:
“As a direct consequence of the earthquake in 2010, more than 1,500 persons had to be amputated and adequate prostheses had to be fabricated. Moreover, much more than 10,000 people were waiting for orthoses – orthopedic aids, which assist body parts with limited functioning and correct defective positions and injuries.
As most of the Haitian orthopedical workshops had been destroyed by the earthquake and the need for these aids was so high, humedica decided to build a clinic for prostheses and orthoses near the Hôpital Espoir, which had already been taken in charge, and to train the adequate specialized staff.
At the moment, four Haitians are doing a certified apprenticeship in the humedica clinic. The two-storey Center for prostheses and orthoses is not only equipped with numerous machines, it includes the rooms for the patient’s physiotherapeutic treatment as well.
Because of its elaborate concept and its good equipment, the humedica clinic has been distinguished as an especially good school for physiotherapy and osteopathy by the Haitian Minister of Health. At the same time, it is an elected example for other workshops which instruct apprentices.
This distinction is even improving the good reputation of the workshop. Other help organizations, like Healing Hands International, which also run a prostheses and orthoses workshop in Port-au-Prince, send some students to the humedica clinic every month.
Thus, the apprentices get the opportunity to get to know about different machines, materials, techniques and their application.
The workshop is always well-attended and Anani and Nyavo, the two Togolese working there, as well as the apprentices always have much to do. Whereas Anani is a much praised physiotherapist, Nyavo is the instructor of the four Haitian apprentices. These do not only fabricate the prostheses and orthoses themselves, they also adjust them.
The well-trained team often looks after several people’s needs at the same time. While one patient’s prostheses is being modified, another patient’s one is being adjusted.
At the same time, others are walking back and forth in the workshop, in order to test their new or modified leg prostheses. Especially children’s or teenager’s prostheses must be modified or changed regularly, because they still grow up.
Other patients need orthoses, like the one-year old boy, whose knees are not strong enough to hold his weight. Because of this inborn atony, he can neither stand up nor walk correctly. So Nyavo and his team do their best to help him with the right splint.
Another patient of the clinic was born with one shorter leg. Nyavo saw her in the street and told her that, with an orthoses of the humedica clinic, she wouldn’t need crutches any more.
She immediately visited the workshop and at her second appointment she already proudly showed some friends, how well she could walk with this orthopedic aid.
Thanks to the indefatigable efforts of the staff of the humedica prostheses and orthoses clinic, more and more Haitians are able to move without crutches and without the help of others. So they can finally lead an independent and self-determined life again. “
Also in 2013, Haiti is still the poorest country of the Western hemisphere – a fact that still requires our help. Become part of our efforts and support our prostheses and orthoses clinic with a directed donation. Thank you very much!
humedica e. V.
Reference “Earthquake Haiti”
Account 47 47
Bank Code 734 500 00