WHO WE ARE
The Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) works in partnership with the Centre for Medical Rehabilitation (CMR) to ensure that people with physical disabilities have local, affordable access to a quality, nationally-managed rehabilitation service.
HISTORY OF COPE
In 1963, the Ministry of Health of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic founded the Centre for Medical Rehabilitation (then the National Rehabilitation Centre), to provide and coordinate rehabilitation services throughout the country. In 1997, the Lao Ministry of Health and a group of non-governmental organisations (POWER, World Vision, and the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics) agreed to form COPE. This was in part due to the increasing number of casualties from unexploded ordnance from bombs dropped on Laos during the Secret War (from 1964-1973). It is estimated that 15,000 survivors still require ongoing support
In 1996, existing services provided people with 138 mobility devices. Since COPE was formed, there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of devices fitted. Since 2009, around 1000 devices have been produced per year. In accordance with the consensus statements from the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO), COPE introduced polypropylene for prosthetics and orthotics using the system designed by the International Committee of the Red Cross Special Fund for the Disabled (ICRC-SFD), meaning that those requiring prostethes and orthoses in Lao PDR now have access to robust, individually-made, high quality, low-cost devices.
“Here at COPE, you provide assistance to those who have suffered because of UXO while shining a spotlight on the work that still has to be done. And in that effort, I’m very glad that America is your partner.”
Barack Obama, President of the United States of America,
at the COPE Visitor Centre. September 7, 2016
In 2008, COPE opened its Visitor Centre to increase awareness about disabilities in Laos and highlight the amazing work that is being done to help people with mobility-related disabilities lead full and productive lives. Since that time, it has become the top-rated attraction in Vientiane and visitor donations contribute to funding our work to support people with mobility-related disabilities.
Since 2009, COPE has extended its awareness efforts. This was first done through the COPE Connect outreach program which aimed to increase referrals of people with mobility-related disabilities to fixed-site rehabilitation centers. In 2016, we further strengthened the links between communities and services by launching the CMR-COPE Connect Mobile Clinic program.
Throughout our history, we have provided comprehensive support for the Government of Lao mobility-related rehabilitation efforts, helping people move on.
COPE prioritises its work in the following ways:
- developing skills and providing training for Centre for Medical Rehabilitation staff in Vientiane and the four Provincial Rehabilitation Centres
- assisting patients with medical expenses
- operating Mobile Clinics
- facilitating referral to clinical services for patients
- supporting rehabilitation centres with production materials and equipment
- serving as a link between the donor community and the Lao Government
Learn more about our services and how we help patients on what we do.