ISPO 50th Anniversary – Partners’ Messages

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    Dr Alarcos Cieza

    Unit Head, Sensory Functions, Disability and Rehabilitation - World Health Organization


    I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations to the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics as they celebrate their 50th anniversary.

    Since its inception, ISPO has gained a strong reputation as a leader in their field and made a real impact in increasing access to rehabilitation and assistive technology.

    Their education and practice standards, accreditation services, courses and other learning platforms have helped strengthen the rehabilitation workforce around the world.

    WHO are particularly honoured to have collaborated with ISPO to publish the Guidelines on the provision of manual wheelchairs in less resourced settings in 2008 and the Standards for Prosthetics and Orthotics in 2017. WHO look forward to continue partnering with them as we develop new critical resources for the rehabilitation community, including the Rehabilitation Competency Framework and Package of Interventions for Rehabilitation.

    As they celebrate this milestone occasion, ISPO can be proud of all they have achieved and of the global community they have built and supported. They are a strong force in the collective effort towards the vision of Rehabilitation 2030, to see a world where every person can access the rehabilitation they need.

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    Masse Niang

    President of FATO, African Federation of Rehabilitation Professionals


    There are organisations that exist but are not seen nor known, and there are also organisations that exist and are well known and loved because of their positive impact in the society. ISPO belongs to the latter.

    It’s amazing to see the impact ISPO has had on Prosthetics and Orthotics worldwide! ISPO, over the years, has been able to gather physical rehabilitation professionals from all the corners of the world and connecting them together through diverse channels and making out of them a strong army to develop Prosthetics and Orthotics worldwide. A lot has been achieved: development and continual update of professional standards, education standards, continuous professional development through short courses, seminars and congresses, scientific research publications, advocacy on behalf of people with reduced mobility or disability, using traditional methods as well as distance online means. ISPO model of operating is worth the emulation for young organisation that seek to have impact in their field. We, FATO (African Federation of Rehabilitation Professionals), have learnt a lot from ISPO, and are very proud to have such a wonderful working partner organisation!

    On behalf of all the rehabilitation field in Africa, I wish a Happy 50th anniversary to ISPO! May the coming years be more prosperous and fulfilling, for the great benefit of people with impairments, and reduced mobility worldwide !

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    Ritchard Ledgerd MSc, BScOT

    Executive Director, World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT)


    On behalf of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), I offer congratulations to ISPO on the occasion of your 50th anniversary. WFOT represents over 100 member organisations and 580,000 occupational therapists globally. As occupational therapists we work with people to engage in meaningful activity. This can include the use and application of assistive technology, prosthetics and orthotics in daily living. Collaboration is an essential part of our work and interaction with professional colleagues involved in the assessment, design and supply of devices is paramount. WFOT support and celebrate the efforts of ISPO to promote high standards of service in the provision of assistive technology. ISPO and WFOT remain committed to our global partnership that advocate for rights of people with disabilities. WFOT commends the work that ISPO has achieved over the past 50 years and look forward to our continued collaboration to progress research, innovation and evidence-based practice for the health and wellbeing of our global community.

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    Marc Zlot

    International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)


    First, the ICRC would like to congratulate ISPO on its 50th anniversary. The partnership between ISPO and ICRC has been reliable, dynamic and maintained over many decades with mutual benefit. Over time ISPO has expanded globally and ICRC is proud to have facilitated the development and membership of national associations that have joined ISPO.

    ISPO stands for a global network among rehabilitation professionals and has become an organization that strongly promotes a true multidisciplinary team approach. This has helped to promote high quality care and societal integration, the ultimate goal of rehabilitation.

    The ISPO World Congress is where key players meet, industry meets the service user and rehabilitation professionals, latest developments are presented to the public, and where one can attend a range of trainings, presentations, find interesting posters and listen to fascinating research outcomes. It is also a platform where ICRC was able to present its numerous activities.

    ISPO awarded the Blatchford prize for ICRC’s polypropylene technology that became the standard globally in low income countries. It continues today as Rehab’Impulse https://rehabimpulse.org/, a social business initiative employing people with disabilities, presented at the World Congress in KOBE, 2019. 

    We are proud that all ICRC supported education projects obtained ISPO recognition, ensuring international standards at the highest level. ICRC will continue the collaboration that have helped to modernize the education accreditation process and ILO categorization of the P&O profession.

    We, at ICRC look forward to continuing this fruitful relationship and wish ISPO all the best for the years to come.

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    Chapal Khasnabis

    Head (a.i.), Access to Assistive Technology and Medical Devices Unit World Health Organization


    With this message, I am sending my warmest wishes to ISPO on its 50th anniversary – congratulations! ISPO can proudly look back at 50 years of successful concerted efforts and many accomplishments relating to the advancement of prosthetic and orthotic rehabilitation services worldwide.

    The longstanding collaboration between the World Health Organization (WHO) and ISPO has borne fruit on many occasions across the world, culminating in the development and dissemination of the WHO Standards for Prosthetics and Orthotics in 2017. WHO deeply appreciates ISPO’s commitment and extensive efforts in all collaborations with regards to improving the access to prosthetics and orthotics, wheelchairs, assistive technology and rehabilitation services. Special thanks for supporting WHO’s Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE) initiative from its conceptualization to realization.

    I look forward to our continued collaborative efforts for better health and well-being of the world’s most vulnerable populations.

    All the best to ISPO for the years to come!

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    David Constantine MBE

    Founder Director Motivation


    On behalf of myself and the team at Motivation I would like to congratulate ISPO on reaching this important milestone on its 50th anniversary.

    From the very start ISPO included countries where prosthetics and orthotics were difficult to provide and has maintained its focus on high and low income countries. It has carried out important work in setting standards, developing & maintaining education and accreditation services. These have helped set the bar at realistic levels to improve the provision of prosthetics and orthotics in different contexts and in turn, the quality of people’s lives.

    In addition ISPO has become the go to organisation for learning, information, networking and support to other sectors. The ISPO Congress is a key global event, not only for organisations working in P&O, but also mobility & assistive devices.

    As an organisation predominantly focused on wheelchair provision, Motivation is grateful to ISPO for its help and involvement in the wheelchair sector. ISPO has been an incredibly important role model, mentor and guide in helping to improve the provision of wheelchairs, particularly in low income countries. Much of what ISPO has achieved throughout its 50 year journey has been a model to aspire to for other sectors, in particular the wheelchair sector.

    ISPO was instrumental in jointly hosting, with WHO and USAID, the first-ever Wheelchair Consensus Conference in 2006, which in turn led to the publication of the WHO ‘Guidelines on the Provision of Manual Wheelchairs in less resourced settings’, a key document for the wheelchair sector. Individual members of ISPO gave invaluable advice and took part in the whole process from beginning to end.

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    Yohei Sasakawa

    Chairman of The Nippon Foundation

    I would like to pay my sincere respects to the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) for the amazing results of your 50 years of work that has enriched the lives of countless numbers of people needing prosthetics and orthotics.

    Short supply together with insufficient refinement of quality and fitting techniques are the most serious problems that confront the people in need of mobility devices. The Nippon Foundation has worked in collaboration with ISPO, Exceed, the pioneer NGO in P&O, and health ministries of each country to train professional prosthetists and orthotists mainly in Southeast Asia, achieving over six hundred professionals in six countries today. It has become possible to offer comfortable and easy to use devices and services to those in need. These professionals continue to work daily by sharing their experiences and arising challenges with one another across national borders with one goal: to develop the potential of persons with disabilities to the fullest.

    We are proud that we have been able to contribute, in collaboration with ISPO, to the recovery of courage and self-confidence of people using assistive devices to be engaged in full social participation. Let us continue to work together to strive towards the realization of an inclusive society where all people can be actively involved.