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Myanmar: the ICRC continues to support orthopaedic services

24-02-2006 Feature

In partnership with the Myanmar Red Cross Society, the ICRC continues to provide support for orthopaedic services across the country, including the Hpa-an Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Centre (HORC) in the south-east.


    The Hpa-an Orthopaedic Centre was inaugurated in January 2003. Its construction was entirely financed by the ICRC to respond to a need for prosthetic services for disabled people living in the southeast of the country (Mon and Kayin States and Tanintharyi Division). It is run in partnership with the Myanmar Red Cross Society, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The HORC has a prosthetic centre, a patient's gait training and physiotherapy area, a patient's ward (capacity for 30 amputees), a kitchen and a general administration department.
The HORC currently provides services for lower limb amputees (i.e. prosthetic devices, walking aids and basic functional re-education) and has a production capacity of over 600 prostheses per year. The HORC welcomed some 800 patients in 2005, 73 percent of whom were new patients with the remainder coming for repairs and adjustments. Over 1,000 crutches were made and distributed.
Twenty-six Myanmar staff including nine trainee prosthetists work at the HORC and receive professional coaching from two ICRC prosthetists. An orthopaedic surgeon from Hpa-an Hospital supervises all rehabilitation services provided by the Centre. Two people are currently attending a professional training course at the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics in Phnom Penh. They are due to return to the HORC in September 2006.
The ICRC provides the technical expertise and covers all the running costs of the centre’s activities. The technical and managerial autonomy of the HORC should be reached by 2009 but financial support will probably be required for longer.
The HORC is one of seven prosthetic services supported by the ICRC in Myanmar. Others include the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Yangon, the Mandalay General Hospital and the military hospital in Pyin Oo Lwin, north of Mandalay. In September 2005, the ICRC completed work on the prosthetic services in the Aung Ban military hospital in southern Shan State.
Since the beginning of the ICRC's involvement in Myanmar, it has assisted in the production of over 18,000 prostheses. The ICRC directly assists in 90 percent of lower limb prosthetic treatments in the country.   See alsoMyanmar: wild honey and landmines, the story of Kyaw Htoo.