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Project ACCESO officially launched in El Salvador

June 1, 2005

A two-year project to transfer technology skills that assist El Salvador's 500,000 disabled people will be officially launched in San Salvador on June 2.

Project ACCESO was conceived and developed by the Social Program Evaluation Group at Queen's University in partnership with the Human Mobility Research Centre at Queen's and Kingston General Hospital. Major partners in El Salvador include the Ministry of Health, the University of Don Bosco (UDB) and the Salvadorian Institute for Comprehensive Rehabilitation (ISRI).

The total budget for the project is $892,467, which will be contributed jointly by Queen's and El Salvadorian partners, and CIDA's Technology Transfer program. These resources will be used to carry out activities that link two complementary areas: Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) and Prosthetic and Orthotic (P&O) technologies and services.

This project will improve the ability of Salvadorian organizations to lead the country in the process of decentralization of rehabilitation and P&O services which ultimately address poverty and social inequality. The approach will be used in two pilot areas, the rural Santiago de Maria area in the Usulutan region, and the peri-urban Ilopango-Norte area near the capital, San Salvador.

Training in CBR will include topics such as community development, human rights and gender issues, referral systems and development of rehabilitation services in rural settings. The project will also transfer training in new cost-effective materials and methods to UDB students of prosthetics and orthotics so that P&O devices will more affordable and accessible to people in isolated settings.

A centre piece of the P&O technologies will be a newly redesigned Niagara Foot®, a modular prosthetic foot originally developed in Canada for use by landmine survivors and others in post-conflict and developing regions. Niagara Prosthetics International of St. Catharines, ON, is supplying the Niagara Foot® for training purposes. The project will also lease and outfit a vehicle for a mobile P&O workshop. The vehicle, staffed by UDB professors and upper year P&O students, will be used to expose students to client assessment techniques in rural and isolated geographical areas, and to train local artisans in how to repair and adapt P&O devices.

The Canadian contribution includes expert assistance, educational materials, and problem solving sessions developed by Queen's and George Brown College of Toronto. Research will involve the development and testing of new curricular approaches in vocational technical training.

Project ACCESO is led in Canada by Dr. Will Boyce of the Social Program Evaluation Group and Dr. Tim Bryant of the Human Mobility Research Centre.

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