Offer scholarships to staffers

The persons who benefitted from the capacity-building training display their certificates in the presence of the training consultants and staffers of the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre (Carl Croker photo)

— administrator of Ptolemy Reid centre urges gov’t

By Elvin Carl Croker

ADMINISTRATOR and Rehabilitation Officer of the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre (PRRC), Cynthia Massay, has called on government to consider granting staffers of the centre scholarships to pursue studies in orthotics and prosthetics at the undergraduate and master’s level.

She was at the time addressing the closing exercise of a two-week capacity- building programme for orthotic and prosthetic technicians at the PRRC on Friday.
Massy explained that as the sole provider of orthotics and prosthetics in Guyana, the need for continuous training and upgrading of staff and facilities are paramount.

“Effective appliances, coupled with the multi-disciplinary approach through the training of therapists within the disability and rehabilitation services of the Ministry of Public Health, help clients achieve the best possible outcomes in the use of their appliances,” she said.

Massay said the training received will make a very great difference to the quality and type of product the centre is producing and in a timelier fashion, so that persons would not have to wait the length of time they had to do in the past.

Acting chairperson of the PRRC, John Browman, said the challenges in fulfilling the needs of persons with disabilities in Guyana demands professional training, both locally and abroad.

To this end, he suggested that the Ministries of Public Health and the Public Service upgrade and regularise the appointments of long-serving technical staff of the PRRC, as well as the recently trained rehabilitation assistants who have been on staff for some time, but are yet to be appointed.

He told the gathering that the objective of the training programme would not have been achieved were it not for their interest and willing contributions.

Three consultants from the ProsthetiKa, Dr. Jon Batzdorff (left), Amy Souster, (right) and Eddy Fuentes (Carl Croker photo)

In congratulating the staff, the chairman said the management committee, among others, looks forward to their future contribution as management seeks to have them promoted and/or appointed.

The PRRC staffers were issued certificates of participation at the two-week capacity-building training programme.

Three consultants of ProsthetiKa, a non-profit organisation conducted the training with support from the PRRC and the Public Health Ministry.

The trio, Amy Souster, a specialist physiotherapist from Exeter, England; Eddy Fuentes, a prosthetist/orthotist from Guatemala City and Dr. Jon Batzdorff (team leader), who has been a certified prosthetist and orthotist for 40 years.

Dr. Batzdorff is employed as a prosthetist in Santa Rosa, California and this is his third visit to Guyana. He has conducted training programmes in Russia, Turkey, Armenia, Lithuania, Cuba, Bolivia, Mexico, Haiti and Ukraine.

Dr Batzdorff commended PAHO/WHO Country Director, Dr. William Adu-Krow and all others for putting the programme together, and noted that his team is committed to doing multi-disciplinary work in Guyana.

The team while here worked with adults affected by stroke, head and spinal cord injuries and children with Cerebral Palsy (CP).
Sixteen adults and children received ankle foot orthosis free of cost and three persons received spinal braces.

The beneficiaries have reported that their appliances have tremendously improved their functioning and independence.

Dr. Paul Edwards, who represented Dr. Adu-Krow, said PAHO/WHO is proud to be part of the experience and to be able to see how lives are being changed.

He told the staff of the PRRC to cherish the opportunity they had to work with the consultants, since many times those opportunities are not available.

“You are privileged to have worked with consultants of high quality,” he said.