WRF Conducts Workshops in Central Asia

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A lead technician (left) at Almaty Rehabilitation Center, Kazakhstan, and Arthur Forman of WRF provide training on fabricating thermo-plastic trans-tibial prostheses.

Prosthetist Arthur Forman, World Rehabilitation Fund (WRF) recently spent two months in Central Asia providing training in thermoplastic prosthetics and orthotics during workshops in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Based on designs Forman developed in Cambodia and later used in the WRF's program in Armenia, this training will be the foundation for a WRF proposal to establish a business to produce and fit prostheses, as well as to expand training of technicians and therapists for all of Central Asia, according to Anthony Staros, WRF senior consultant.

Before returning to the US in June, Forman also was able to successfully fit 18 amputees with prostheses using his design, "which, because of its low cost, high durability, and light weight, is most appropriate for developing countries," Staros said.

PRAGMA, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), provided support for Forman's trip to these two republics, formerly part of the Soviet Union. PRAGMA is involved in economic development projects in the region.

Forman's efforts in Central Asia stimulated interest from several international groups working in these countries to improve local economies as well as to increase capacity to meet the health needs of the population, Staros said. "Mr. Forman had excellent rapport with personnel of existing rehabilitation facilities," he added. "He was encouraged by many to urge WRF to initiate actions to develop and upgrade existing practices in rehabilitation, particularly in prosthetics and orthotics."

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