Our faculty: INES HORRICH

I am a mum. When I started training with Human Study, my daughter was five and my son was two. They’re teenagers now. Before I joined the Human Study programme, I had three years’ experience as a Prosthetist/Orthotist with a national level certificate. Human Study came in and upgraded the Tunisian national level training to international level. I gained Associate Prosthetist/Orthotist certification (formerly ISPO Cat. 2) in 2012 and Professional level (Cat. 1) in 2015. I’ve now got 17 years’ experience as a Prosthetist/Orthotist. I never dreamt I would reach Professional level and be one of the most senior Prosthetist/Orthotists in my field in Tunisia! 

Being involved with Human Study has changed my life 180 degrees! Now I have opportunities to teach people, not only in Tunisia but all over the world. When I first got my Bachelor’s degree, doctors in my country didn’t have much knowledge of the P&O field. They saw a lot of advances happening in the field outside Tunisia, but we didn’t have any instructors or teachers in our country to develop the profession. In the University, we had many other technical courses, such as engineering, but not P&O. Thanks to my studies, I gained confidence in myself, and my knowledge. So now I can discuss cases with doctors, I can give my knowledge, my opinion, and handle any prescription for P&O services. 

Doctors saw the difference in the quality of the prosthetic devices we could produce. Any device they see on the internet, we can produce it. Now, when they need a prosthetic or orthotic device, they send us a picture and, as long as we have the materials, we can make it in the clinic. Even if it’s something new to us, we look at research papers, and develop devices as needed. So our doctors gained a lot of confidence in us. The value of our experience is really high. Sometimes they ask us to give the prescription, and they just sign off on it, that is the inverse of how it used to happen!

In my life as a teacher with Human Study, I go for workshops in different countries. As an Arab woman, it’s difficult to go outside your country to improve yourself. When you go outside, you experience other cultures. You have to adapt. And you can gain so much when others accept you as a woman. Sometimes you surprise them! In Arab countries, sometimes they can’t tell from my name that I’m female, so at the airport when they meet me for a workshop, they’re surprised. 

P&O is not an easy field, it’s very hard. It needs an artisanal touch. At the same time, you have to be a powerful technician. Some of the steps you have to take are hard. In my first year of working, we were the first generation of female Prosthetist/Orthotists in the center. All the staff in the center were male. They were always laughing at us, “how will you bend stainless steel, aluminium?” But their laughter gave us the power to continue. After that they were really surprised at our level. Also when we got to Thailand for our final exams, they were surprised at our knowledge. 

Now I have a lot of colleagues from across the world, we share our knowledge and experiences. It’s amazing to be a Prosthetist/Orthotist. In Tunisia we have 4 Professional (Cat.1) Prosthetist/Orthotists, all female. I feel really proud of this. I’m really happy to have this opportunity, I really have more confidence in myself. We are a very experienced team, we always help each other with problem solving. The other good thing in my life is that we are now giving classes for the 5th generation of new Prosthetist/Orthotists. We are teaching in the same schools where we were students before. We are training trainers for Tunisia. 74 students have finished their studies, and are now working in P&O centers. 

In the 3rd generation, we had 2 males, otherwise all the students were female. In our P&O center we are 80% female staff. 

My children, they are proud of me too. My children are very good in English, they understand very well. I was teaching at home on zoom and sometimes they tried to correct my pronunciation, but they are really proud that I can teach in the English language, it’s not common in Tunisia – we’re more used to French. They are happy when I go to other countries, they try to help me when I have courses, they encourage and support me, this is really good for me. I want that one day, one of them becomes a Prosthetist/Orthotist, I love my profession and I give all my best for my patients. I have a good relationship with them. Sometimes they come to the clinic and they want only me as their P&O. When you are confident in yourself, you can give without any restrictions.

Human Study works in countries that need Prosthetist/Orthotists: countries that have problems, where there is war, or people have difficult conditions. It’s better for every country to have their own professionals, so they can help their patients in their own countries. Patients who experienced war are depressed, they need psychological support so they can continue their lives. There’s no school, mothers and fathers lost their jobs and can’t go out to work for their children. 

I went to Pakistan, where I saw cases I never saw before. There were a lot of polio patients, some of them very young. They come to the clinic in wheelchairs. Their parents are always with them, looking after them, so they can’t work. With the right orthotic device, the child can go to school independently, the parents can work again. I saw the smiles of the children when they can walk without any assistance.

More Prosthetist/Orthotists are needed, more knowledge, more support on how to treat different patients. Human Study builds good knowledge, good practice, to help patients to improve their lives. This is our objective, so people with disabilities are part of the economic circle: school, work, improve their lives, they can be fathers and mothers, this helps the economic circle of the country. Supporting Human Study can help make sure there are professionals to provide support in these countries.

I want to thank Human Study for giving me the confidence to be one of the team. Now, I have good status in my professional life. I’m head of the quality department in my center, and now I’m working towards ISO certification. Our center will be the first in Africa to have this international certificate. This is the result of all the efforts from Human Study to train good P&Os around the world.

I really cannot put into words what I feel about Human Study. I will always be with them. They help us very well, supporting us in our studies, any time: at night, in the morning, they are always present when we need help. They are very professional experts in the P&O field. 

When you have the possibility to go and improve yourself, you cannot stop. Before I was just working, but with Human Study you’re always looking at how to improve yourself, how to take on other projects. In Tunisia I give workshops, seminars. Sometimes I teach doctors about prosthetics and orthotics, they ask us to come and give classes to students doctors, related to one topic, for example on diabetic feet. Human Study gave me the confidence to teach doctors!

Human Study changed my life.