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Colombia: ICRC boosts production of artificial limbs and orthotic devices in Norte de Santander

30-11-2007 News Release

To enable victims of anti-personnel mines and unexploded ordnance to benefit from a faster and more efficient service, the ICRC is working with various local organizations specializing in the manufacture of artificial limbs and orthotic devices and in rehabilitative treatment.

The ICRC recently donated equipment and materials to the Centre for cardiac and neuromuscular rehabilitation in the Colombian department of Norte de Santander to enable the Centre to modernize its workshop. It also provided support and advice for training of staff. As a result, it will now be possible to produce orthopaedic articles locally using polypropylene, a high-quality, low-cost technology used and promoted by the ICRC all over the world.

“With the workshop operating at 100% capacity, we shall be able to offer people with handicaps, and especially victims of armed conflict and anti-personnel mines, a faster and more efficient service, in terms of both production of orthopaedic articles and the rehabilitation process. The donation and the accompanying advice we received from the ICRC have enabled us to step up production of prostheses and orthoses for lower and upper limbs to keep pace with users'needs, " said Víctor Rodríguez, a prosthetic/orthotic technician at the Centre.

The ICRC is also working with other similar centres in Cali, Bogotá, Cartagena and Medellín in order to improve victims'access to rehabilitation services countrywide.

Over 30 patients have so far received prostheses and orthoses during 2007. The ICRC also provides victims with financial support during the rehabilitation process. Between August and November, 64 mine victims and 13 people injured by explosive remnants of war received financial support towards their treatment from the ICRC.

In addition, between August and November, the ICRC and the Colombian Red Cross jointly carried out a series of prevention activities focusing on the dangers of mines and unexploded ordnance. Needs-assessment visits were made to a number of particularly vulnerable communities, such as Santa Rosa in Sur de Bolívar, Convención in Norte de Santander and Uribe in Meta Department, where mine-risk education activities were started up.