A thought provoking and highly productive 4 day meeting of a WHO Standards Development Group took place in Bangkok, Thailand in November 2015.
The meeting was funded by ISPO partners, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and hosted by Associate Professor Nisarat from the Sirindihorn School of Prosthetics & Orthotics, Mahidol University (provider of an ISPO-recognized P&O educational programme). The Group represented all regions of the world, a range of professional and user experiences and was joined by a number of invited observers and representatives of two systematic review teams who presented their preliminary findings.
Systematic Review 1 addresses Effectiveness and cost effectiveness of P&O services. This review team is led by Professor Nachi Chockalingam from Staffordshire University, England with significant input from Dr Aoife Healy. This review is funded by USAID, through ISPO.
Systematic Review 2 addresses Competencies needed to deliver and manage quality prosthetics and orthotics services and Prosthetics and Orthotics Service Delivery (standards and models). This review team is led by Professor Richard Baker from the University of Salford with significant input from Associate Professor Saeed Forghany and Dr Ebrahim Sadeghi-Demneh from Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Iran and Dr Karl Landorf from La Trobe University, Australia. The review team members from the Universities of Salford and La Trobe are funded by USAID through ISPO. The Isfahan University of Medical Sciences are funding their review team members.
Both review teams include a wider network of reviewers giving in kind support to this important work stream. While there is an enormous body of literature in our field, the reviews laid bare the complexities in aggregating a diverse literature base to derive standards for practice.
The Standards Development Group proceeded to examine the literature reviews, and drew on their own expertise. Using facilitated small groups and participatory methods, the facilitators arrived at a good working draft to take forward through the rigorous development process. Aside from the development of standards, there were many opportunities to re-imagine the future of P&O. This meeting heralds a new era, where prosthetics and orthotics and related services are evolving rapidly.
The work of publishing the WHO standards will continue for a further 18 months with a publication launch expected by May 2017 at ISPO’s 16th World Congress in Cape Town, South Africa.