The Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics (CSPO)

Background

Landmine field in Cambodia
Landmines are one of the common causes of disaility in Cambodiaphoto:© Wendel Phillips

Cambodia has one of the largest disabled populations in the world, including an estimated 40,000 landmine survivors and 50,000 people affected by polio.

CSPO first graduates
Some of CSPO's first graduates

To ensure there were sufficient skilled local specialists to provide prosthetics and orthotics services, In 1994 the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics (CSPO) was established by The Cambodia Trust, a UK based charity, with the American Friends Service Committee. The school’s initial aim was to train Cambodians and today we have trained more than 70 Cambodians.

Internationalisation

CSPO former logo
CSPO former logo

In 1999 the school was accredited by the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) for its Category II education. In the same year, CSPO began accepting international students from other developing countries in the region with the wish to help other developing nations who also need qualified professionals.

In 2002 The Cambodia Trust assumed full responsibility for the running of the school. CSPO also became the first Prosthetics and Orthotics school in the world to achieve ISO 9001:2000 certification.

Regional Role

P&O students at CSPO
Students from different nations studying together

As a regional school, we currently have students from 13 nations: Afghanistan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), East Timor, Georgia, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Kiribati, Malaysia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea (PNG), and The Philippines, as well as Cambodia. CSPO is sharing knowledge and skills with other post-conflict and low-income countries.

CSPO student
A student utlizing the technique introduced at the Upper Limb seminar

Continuous Education

CSPO has hosted a number of regional meetings and educational seminars, with the aim of updating the knowledge of local Prosthetist – Orthotists and other para-medical professionals.

Funding

Prosthetic components
Some components for prostheses made by ICRC and HI Belgium

The Department for International Development (DFID UK Government), Nippon Foundation and Leahy War Victims Fund (USAID) are core funders of CSPO; International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Handicap International (HI) Belgium provide components for students. We are very grateful for their support.

CSPO is making good progress towards true sustainability. Students from outside Cambodia are sponsored by their Governments or other International Organisations such as International Committee of the Red Cross, thereby contributing to the school’s running costs. In addition, former graduates are receiving training to enable us to eventually phase out all expatriate posts, replacing them with local and regional staff – a major step towards the localisation of the school.