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Guinea-Bissau: physical rehabilitation centre re-opens

25-03-2011 News Release 11/70

Bissau (ICRC) – The Bissau national physical rehabilitation centre reopened today, 25 March, following refurbishment by the health ministry of Guinea-Bissau.

The project is supported by the government and by a number of international partners, including the ICRC and ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States).

“As of today, the rehabilitation centre can start providing quality care for amputees. The objective is that this facility should once more become a regional reference centre. The final phase will be to set up the physiotherapy department. An ICRC physiotherapist will be joining us next month to take this on,” explained Gerd van de Velde, who leads the ICRC rehabilitation project.

The centre was built in the 1980s and was a reference centre for the countries of the region before being destroyed in the 1998-1999 civil war. Despite the need for physical rehabilitation services, Guinea-Bissau therefore had no facility for treating the victims of the conflicts that have affected the country – until today.

In January 2010, the ICRC sent an expatriate prosthetist-orthotist to monitor the project, and since then the organization has provided the machines, furniture, tools, raw materials and components needed to produce orthopaedic appliances. A Bissau-Guinean prosthetist who studied in Tanzania for three years on an ICRC “Special Fund for the Disabled” grant has been working at the centre since August 2010.

For further information, please contact:
Alfa Djalo, ICRC Bissau, tel: +245 661 53 43 / +245 592 89 17
Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, ICRC Dakar, tel: +221 77 529 71 45