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Indochina Regional Conference on Cerebral Palsy and Club Foot

Vientiane, 3-7 September 2012


The first regional conference on prosthetics and orthotics to be hosted in Lao PDR was opened today in Vientiane by the Vice Minister of Health, Dr Bounkong Sihavong and the US Ambassador to Lao PDR, Ms Karen B. Stewart. The Indochina Regional Conference on Clubfoot and Cerebral Palsy has been organized by the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) in partnership with the Centre of Medical Rehabilitation Ministry of Health.  The conference aims to strengthen the work already undertaken in the region to treat club foot and introduce new innovative methods to manage cerebral palsy to advance physical rehabilitation services for people with disabilities.


The conference is funded through the USAID fund the Leahy Fund for War Victims, in partnership with the International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) who will provide international experts in rehabilitation medicine from around the world to provide instruction on current standards of practice.

The conference has brought leading experts from around the globe to collaborate on regional initiatives and discuss innovative and new ideas in the field of orthotic management. Over 120 health professionals from around the region, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Bangladesh, will join their Lao colleagues over the course of this week. The conference will be attended by prosthetist/orthotists, orthopedic surgeons, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.


The conference is comprised of three distinct aspects. The first day is an overview of current treatment for babies born with clubfoot in Southeast Asia. Vietnam, Cambodia and Lao representatives will present their current practices, challenges, and future plans for continued care of these children.


Days two and three will be conducted primarily by the international experts representing ISPO. Topics to be covered relate to multidisciplinary rehabilitation for children with cerebral palsy, with an emphasis on ambulatory patients and the braces they use to walk. The last two days of the conference will move on to a hands-on program, during which participants will work in smaller groups to assess, educate and treat patients, incorporating the skills they have learned during the plenary sessions of the previous days.