What are the SFD’s main activities?
Through a permanent presence or regular visits to the assisted projects, the SFD’s prosthetists carry out three types of activity:
One of the characteristics of the SFD is its two-pronged approach, both patient-oriented and structure oriented. The assistance should lead to increased accessibility of patients to services and to increased organizational capacity of the service provider. Due to financial limitations of the SFD, the local partner should already have a certain degree of managerial, technical and financial autonomy before the assistance is started.
According to the specific situation, a combination of the following three types of assistance is applied.
Technical assistance consist of usually short missions to assisted projects by the SFD expatriate orthoprosthetist or physiotherapist to:
Africa. Since the beginning of the nineties, the SFD operates a regional training centre at the prosthetic/orthotics centre (POC) in Addis Ababa. The POC is a local foundation with participation of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and it is one of the ICRC’s oldest partners.
The SFD organizes some 12 courses per year of one month duration for up to 6 persons at a time. Courses aim mainly to familiarise ortho prosthetists of developed and developing countries with the clinical application of thermoformable plastics and polypropylene components, the main technique adopted by the ICRC. Since 1995, more than 450 technicians from centres mainly in Africa were trained by the SFD. In addition, the SFD organises technical seminars in regional prosthetics and orthotics schools. Some six expatriate experts are based in Addis Ababa, conducting the courses and organising regular follow-up visits to some 30 assisted SFD projects elsewhere in Africa.
Ethiopia Training Information Documents (in PDF format): Welcome Paper, Information Sheet.
See also the Feature article: ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled: teaching does the most good.
Asia. The SFD started assisting the rehabilitation centre in Ho Chi Minh City following the ICRC's departure in the late eighties. In addition to assuring continuity of services at this centre for destitute persons with disabilities, SFD support was progressively extended to other centres in Vietnam, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Action and with the Vietnamese Red Cross. The latter is actively involved in identification, referral and follow-up of patients. The SFD assistance is now provided at a national scale, covering more than 90% of the national area. In addition, the two orthoprosthetists based in Ho Chi Minh City also support projects in India and Laos.
Latin America. Since the beginning of the ninetees, the SFD has supported the former ICRC orthopaedic workshop in Managua, CENAPRORTO. The Centre is managed by the Ministry of Health and it went through a successful reorganization starting 2000. To meet demands, the SFD opened an additional centre in 2005, CAPADIFE, in close collaboration with the local foundation Walking Unidos. The SFD, based in Managua, also supports other rehabilitation centres in the region, e.g. in El Salvador, Peru and in Cuba.
Following the disastrous 12 January 2010 earthquake in Haiti the SFD’s involvement in this country was considerably stepped up. In close consultation with the ICRC, the SFD Board decided in early June 2010 to engage in a multi-year cooperation agreement with its local partner organization Healing Hands for Haiti Foundation (HHHF), which included the reconstruction of the entirely destroyed prosthetic and orthotic workshop and the physiotherapy clinic. The new premises are expected to be finished in early 2012 and will be followed by a five-year SFD support programme to start up and consolidate the running of the centre.
Europe. In January 2009, following the withdrawal of the ICRC – in conformity with its mandate – the SFD took over the support for the physical rehabilitation project in Tajikistan. It is the second project in the Europe - Central Asia zone since the SFD started support to the former ICRC project in Albania in 2004. The Tajikistan project is supervised by the SFD office in Viet Nam.