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New unit to fix prosthetics

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A man sits at a prosthetic workshop in Phnom Penh last year. The ICRC yesterday announced the launch of a mobile workshop in Siem Reap to repair prosthetics in the province. Charlotte Pert

New unit to fix prosthetics

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Cambodia announced yesterday the launch of a new mobile workshop that repairs prosthetics for the disabled in Siem Reap province.

“A mobile workshop – a transformed van equipped with a wide range of modern mobility equipment to provide servicing and repairs for mobility devices of people with disability – is now operating in Siem Reap province,” a Facebook post from the ICRC read.

The mobile workshop, which was launched last week, is travelling around Siem Reap making repairs and adjustments to mobility devices free of charge. The mini-bus is operated out of the Siem Reap Provincial Physical Rehabilitation Centre, with the goal of setting up similar mobile repair shops in Kampong Thom and Preah Vihear by 2017.

ICRC, which differs from the Cambodian Red Cross headed by the prime minister’s wife, Bun Rany, is currently overseeing the project with help from the Ministry of Social Affairs, but intends for the ministry to take full responsibility of the program at some point.

“This is the very first [prosthetics repair] van ever in Cambodia,” Ministry of Social Affairs Secretary of State Sem Sokha was quoted as saying in the ICRC’s Facebook post.

Bart Vermeiren, ICRC head of mission, told the Post that other efforts have been made to bring repair services directly to people with disabilities, but he said this one is more technologically advanced.

“It’s much cheaper and more efficient. It can be set up in 10 minutes,” Vermeiren explained. “There’s nothing magic about it, it’s just good technology,” he added.

Vermeiren also said his organisation is working on implementing a system to alert patients by SMS when the van is in their village.

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