Countless helping hands since the beginning of the war

Ottobock trains more Ukrainian O&P professionals in Duderstadt

The start of a cross-team collaboration: the first container left the Ottobock Campus in Duderstadt for Lviv in September 2022.
The start of a cross-team collaboration: the first container left the Ottobock Campus in Duderstadt for Lviv in September 2022.

Thursday, 25 January 2024

The fighting in Ukraine has been going on for two years now. To help the victims of war during these difficult times, Ottobock is supporting the development of a medical technology infrastructure on site in a variety of ways. Since the beginning of January, the coaches at the Global Academy have been training ten prospective orthopaedic technicians from Ukraine on the Ottobock Campus. “We’re working tirelessly with our partners to provide amputees with prostheses and give them new hope,” says Tim Schäfer, Regional President EEMEA.

What's happened so far…

Ottobock began expanding the medical technology infrastructure in Ukraine back in 2022. In close cooperation with international aid organisations like the Red Cross and Malteser International, Ottobock Equipment, the PEM planning team and Export team have succeeded in implementing various workshop projects within a very short time, such as the stationing of a mobile workshop container in Lviv, followed by four additional containers in Kiev as well as orthopaedic workshops connected to hospitals.

Ottobock also achieved a product milestone in summer 2023. With the "Hand differently thought" project, the development team evolved a passive hand prosthesis made of silicone for daily use at home and for personal hygiene within a very short space of time: Skeo Up Daily Assist. The right size is selected after a brief measurement and it can be rolled onto the arm like a liner. This means that the prosthesis can be used quickly and without detailed technical expertise, especially in crisis regions. "The pre-launch in Ukraine generated initial positive feedback, on the basis of which the development team will now continue to evolve the prosthetic hand," explains Area Manager Anatoli Tirik.

In cooperation with Ukrainian non-profit organizations such as Superhumans and long-standing customers, Ottobock is addressing the shortage of orthopaedic specialists in Ukraine. The Superhumans Center in Lviv, which was founded in April 2023, has a trauma ward for war victims and a prosthetics center with a rehabilitation unit. Among others, Ukrainian orthopaedic technicians and physiotherapists work here, whom Ottobock trained last year.

Technical expertise for Ukraine

The Ottobock Global Academy offers training and continuing education for Ukrainian technicians on a regular basis and throughout Europe.

Lower Limb Prosthetics Crash Course

Ten Ukrainian technicians are currently participating in the Lower Limb Prosthetics Crash Course at the Ottobock Campus in Duderstadt. “Our goal is to enable participants to provide people with transfemoral and transtibial amputations within 12 weeks. A special challenge: The participants’ different levels of experience require flexibility in planning,” explain coaches Markus Goldmann and Frederik Thiede.

Despite difficult travel conditions, all registered participants from the partner companies Superhumans, Avanti, Forward Orto and Halychina came together in Duderstadt. Following theoretical instruction and an overview of Ottobock products and fitting solutions, they will be putting their expertise into practice directly on demo users starting in the second week of training. “With a total of nine fittings per participant, we have a key focus on practical training so we can raise them to a common level for their work in Ukraine,” says Goldmann.

“I want to deepen my knowledge and improve the quality of my work. It is the only thing we can do for our disabled soldiers,” says participant Borysov Oleksii about his ambitions. The young surgeon from Khmelnytskyi is building on his medical studies by training at the Ottobock Global Academy.

“After two years, the unpredictable situation in Ukraine remains a challenge that goes far beyond our day-to-day business. The many destinies challenge us not only professionally, but above all on a human level. It is unbelievable what we have achieved together with countless helping hands so far. Thanks to everyone involved!"

Next steps:

Ottobock founded a foreign subsidiary in Ukraine in December 2023. Taking into account the current situation, this will be gradually expanded in terms of logistics and personnel. Initially, a storage is being planned that will be operated by an external service provider. The focus will be on fast-moving products, which we will make available to our customers for immediate local supply.

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