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Sustainable Initiative

09-06-2012 11:16 AM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: Otto Bock HealthCare GmbH

Sustainable Initiative

Sustainable Initiative

Otto Bock Foundation: Education Project in Haiti Started

After a long wait, the education project in Haiti supported by a donation campaign of the Otto Bock Foundation has finally started; 32 students have begun their online studies in "Prosthetics and Orthotics" at Don Bosco University in San Salvador, which provides medical technical knowledge via Internet for Central and South America. The Otto Bock Foundation is financing the training of six students who have already worked more than two years at an orthopaedics centre in Léogâne run by the Johanniter International Assistance and learned the trade of orthopaedic technician.

"The goal of our campaign "Children in Need – Aid for Haiti" was not only to provide immediate assistance for the victims of the earthquake, but also to train orthopaedic technicians who will remain to work in the country," said Karl Heinz Burghardt, chairman of the independent Otto Bock Foundation. This sustainable initiative is hugely important because the children's prostheses must be continually adjusted or replaced as they grow. "We are pleased that this will be made possible by the education project and the donations can be used in the country to make a difference," said Burghardt.

One component of the distance study program is that the students continue to work in the organisations that sent them and are supported and instructed there by their tutor, an internationally experienced orthopaedic technician. In this way, they complete part of the practical training in their respective organisation. For the theoretical part of their training, the distance learning method described as "blended learning", an interactive Internet site was set up. The students can share issues in forums, ask questions, and discuss with others. In addition, there is learning material in the form of CDs and videos as well as texts and images that can be printed out.

During the entire training period, the students have an expert from Don Bosco University available as a contact person. In addition, regular practical and theoretical training is offered in seminars in Port-au-Prince. The curriculum includes modules for prosthetics and orthotics and units on human anatomy and biomechanics. At the end of each module, the students take a practical and an online theoretical test. They have to answer questions within a certain time limit without consulting the Internet. In the practical test, they produce a transtibial prosthesis, for example, which is then evaluated by local technicians.

The six students financed by the Otto Bock Foundation have been waiting a long time for the chance to start their training. Although they certainly already knew many things from their work at Johanniter International Assistance, they still have to learn a lot to succeed in the demanding programme with the internationally recognized ISPO CAT 2 certificate. The young people are aware that they are being offered a unique opportunity to have a positive impact on their own future and that of their country.

The Otto Bock Foundation has defined its commitment in Haiti as a long-term project that will remain the focus of its activity. Projects such as training orthopaedic technicians, fitting seven children with arm prostheses in 2011 and various donations of materials, etc. will continue to be supported in the future.

The six students Fabiola, Wilguens, James, Guirna, Jean Holdson and Jean Gerard have begun their studies financed by the Otto Bock Foundation in the Johanniter International Assistance organisation in Léogâne.

Ottobock - Technology for People
Otto Bock HealthCare helps people maintain or regain their freedom of movement with innovative products. Founded in Berlin back in 1919, the medical technology company has become a global market leader in the field of prosthetics. Other business units include orthotics, Mobility Solutions with wheelchairs, seating systems and child rehabilitation devices as well as, since 2006, neurostimulation. The activities of the global company with sales and service locations in 44 countries are coordinated from the head office in Duderstadt, South Lower Saxony. Professor Hans Georg Näder, the grandson of company founder Otto Bock, took over the management of the family company from his father Dr. Max Näder in 1990 and carried on as the third-generation CEO ever since.
Further information:

Karsten Ley,
Director Corporate Communication
Otto Bock HealthCare GmbH, Max-Näder-Str. 15, 37115 Duderstadt
Phone: +49 (0) 5527 848-3036, Fax: +49 (0) 5527 848-3360
Email:, Internet:

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