Institutional Development Support at the BTPOTC
This project serves to enable internationally recognized training and education at the Br. Tarcisius Prosthetics & Orthotics Training College (BTPOTC), Nsawam Ghana.
Funded by: Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung (EKFS), a non-profit foundation dedicated to advancing medical research and medical-humanitarian projects.
In the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, Nicolas Muñoz (Human Study senior P&O trainer) flew to Nsawam, Ghana from Madrid to begin training of our Ghana students in the first of many workshops, specifically lower limb prosthetics. This training was made possible by our host organization Br. Tarcisius Prosthetics & Orthotics Training College (BTPOTC)1 a subsidiary of Orthopedic Training Centre (OTC)2
The participants trained through this project will be on their path to become the first internationally recognized teachers for P&O in Ghana and will serve as capacity builders of future generations of professionals in the region, securing the continuation of the process towards the establishment of BTPOTC as internationally accredited and independent educational institution.
Nicolas was joined in this workshop by Anareme Kpandressi, from Togo, a former graduate of Human Study and currently the main teacher on this project. They demonstrated the production of trans-femoral and trans-tibial prosthetic treatment, guiding students in each step of the procedure, from measuring and casting, to final testing and patient interaction.
One of the students in the program Peter Courage who said “I personally have found this program very useful because after my initial training here in Ghana, I lacked “practical on the job knowledge” where now I have an opportunity to broaden my knowledge and experience.” Like 68 of his countrymen, Peter is a graduate of the local BTPOTC educational program in P&O (counting four generations of graduates since its 2013 inception). Early on the college sought accreditation to an international level but was denied due to the lack of trained teachers and substantial gaps in program’s curriculum. Subsequently Human Study and OTC have collaborated to improve the program at the BTPOTC to achieve International recognition, which will provide future Generations of West Africans with World Class P&O products and services.
Our approach to the situation is to first educate trainers from among the local professionals and graduates of the BTPOTC who are currently employees of OTC. Peter is one of them. “Thank God Human Study has come in to fulfill my wish“, he says with a smile on his face. Peter is satisfied with the impact the education has already started to have on his daily performance with patients and looks forward to the rest of the program. “I have gained more knowledge and skills to deal with [different patient cases] following the well-defined Human Study practical principles. I see myself becoming confident after achieving good results in some major cases which I found more difficult before receiving this current training“.
The importance of this project is reflected in the good work that the OTC does for Ghana and the region. Acting as a ‘key partner in health care for persons with physical and mobility disability through the provision of quality, custom-built prosthetic, orthotic, orthopaedic appliances and excellence in rehabilitation services’, OTC makes an important contribution to addressing the needs for P&O services in the region. The primary purpose of the Centre is the rehabilitation of the physically challenged in Ghana including the Greater West Africa region. The centre welcomes over 7000 patients per year a quarter of which are children, many of them with cerebral palsy, who desperately need orthopaedic devices to perform the most basic of daily activities. Without OTC, the outlook would be very grim for those in need.
Patients treated by our students do not have to wait for the program to end to realize the improvements. “My approach in handling patients has improved significantly,” Peter reflects. “Technically I have developed a more professional way of asking my patients questions during clinical assessment which is an integral part of the treatment process. Of course, my love for the job has increased because following the right way of dealing with cases provides positive results.”
Over the coming months, students will undergo training in two additional modules that will teach lower limb orthotics, trunk orthotics and upper limb P&O. Upon completion of this training (that includes their passing of final examination) this group will achieve accreditation at the international level for Associate P&O qualifying them to upgrade to the Human Study BSc program.
Peter says in the end: “I look forward to continuing my relationship with Human Study where I will get the opportunity to further my P&O career and become a lecturer where I can impart my knowledge on to those future students.”
1Brother (Br.) Tarcisius Prosthetics & Orthotics Training College (BTPOTC):
The newest addition to the OTC is the Br. Tarcisius Prosthetics & Orthotics Training College that opened its doors to the first class in September 2013. Eleven students were accepted, seven from the OTC local workshop, three from government and one private student. They participated in a three-year diploma program. In June 2016, they became the first graduates from the college.
2Orthopedic Training Centre (OTC):
Orthopedic Training Centre (OTC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is enabling the handicapped in Ghana, mainly children, to gain independent and productive lives.
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