The government must capacitate local health institutions to provide adequate orthopedic services in the country, a disability activist has said.
Orthopedics is the branch of medicine concerned with diseases, injuries, and conditions of the musculoskeletal system: the body’s bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves.
In an interview with CITE, Leonard Cheshire Disability Zimbabwe (LCDZ), Chief Orthopedic Technologist Lovemore Murahwa said there is a need for development partners to partner with government to provide adequate orthopedic services.
LCDZ is a non-profit organization working for and with children and youths with disabilities.
“In government, we have three institutions providing orthopedic services in the country, we have the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) Orthopedic Centre, Parirenyatwa Orthopedic and the National Rehabilitation Centre but all those are not functioning at the level we expect them to,” said Murahwa.
“Leonard Cheshire Disability is serving the means of providing these services in support of the government institutions.”
He said it is crucial to have orthopedic centres across the country in order to cater to the needs of people living with disabilities.
“For every nation, 10% of the population is considered disabled that is the world standard and about 80 %- 90% of the disabled will need orthopedic appliances but in this country, we cannot meet those standards,” said Murahwa.
The chief orthopedic technologist noted that what is crucial in attaining the appliances is the function and comfort which is needed the most by the patient.
“The purpose of all these appliances is to bring that person back to near normal life but you can only do it if the appliance is comfortable, functional and also the cosmetic aspect,” said Murahwa.
Murahwa pointed out that most orthopedic appliances are imported which makes them expensive.
“We urge those in need of these appliances to approach those paying for their medical insurance in order to buy the necessary products they require to live a near comfortable life,” he said.
He added: “We cannot always depend on imports, but we can partner with tertiary institutions, research companies, and the government to produce our own appliances. This involves a lot of money and a lot of technology transfer.