EL SALVADOR: Don Bosco University students delivered 108 orthotic devices and eight lower limb prosthetic devices during mission trips in 2018
(MissionNewswire) The School of Rehabilitation Sciences at Don Bosco University in San Salvador, El Salvador, contributes to the rehabilitation and inclusion of persons with disabilities through professional training in the field. Training standards meet those set by the World Health Organization and the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics. Students graduate with the necessary competencies to provide quality orthotic and prosthetic devices that allow persons with physical disabilities to improve their ability to function and reintegrate into society.
In El Salvador, most orthotic and prosthetic production is centralized in the capital or in major cities concentrated in the east and west of the country. Many marginalized communities struggle to access the service of professionals who can address their orthotic and prosthetic needs. As part of the competency-based training at Don Bosco University, technical orthotics and prosthesis students in their last year of training carry out orthopedic mission trips.
During the mission trips, students provide services to persons with disabilities who are in need of the devices but lack the resources needed to obtain them. Some of the orthopedic mission trips are carried out in partnership with local governments or national organizations and some are financed entirely by Don Bosco University.
Each mission takes place in three stages. First, a visit for patient evaluation and measurement is conducted. Second, students develop the needed devices in the School of Orthotics and Prosthetics. Finally, a second visit allows for the delivery and testing of the new devices. An additional follow-up visit is scheduled with the individuals who have received the new devices to ensure that they meet the patient’s needs.
During 2018, four orthopedic mission trips were carried out by Don Bosco University, delivering a total of 108 orthotic devices of different types and eight lower limb prosthetic devices. Don Bosco University’s orthopedic mission trips will continue in 2019, increasing access to medical rehabilitation for persons with physical disabilities.
To further aid its mission to empower the next generation of medical rehabilitation practitioners, Don Bosco University received funding in 2017 for its “Walking Anew!” program thanks to a grant, secured by Salesian Missions, from USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program. The “Walking Anew!” program is helping to expand and upgrade the facilities at Don Bosco University’s School of Rehabilitation Science as well as the equipment used to train medical rehabilitation professionals. The program is also pioneering innovative techniques in the treatment of people with disabilities.
“We are thankful to USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad program for providing us grant funding for the ‘Walking Anew!’ project,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Children living in poverty with a disability are even less likely to attend school when compared to their peers. Youth with disabilities have the same ability to achieve as their peers, if given the opportunity. Projects like these help pave the way for advanced research, learning and innovation that helps aid inclusion of people with disabilities.”
Don Bosco University is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the country, particularly in the technical and technological sector. The university has close to 6,000 students and maintains a strong link to the local employment sector through research, technology transfer programs, continuing education courses and consultancy services. Degree programs are offered in subjects including engineering, social sciences, humanities, economics, technology and aeronautics.