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Disabil Rehabil. 2012;34(24):2111-8. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2012.667501. Epub 2012 Sep 10.

Experiences of providing prosthetic and orthotic services in Sierra Leone--the local staff's perspective.

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School of Health Sciences, Jönköping University, Swedish Institute for Disability Research, Jönköping, Sweden.


In Sierra Leone, West Africa, there are many people with disabilities in need of rehabilitation services after a long civil war.


The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of prosthetic and orthotic service delivery in Sierra Leone from the local staff's perspective.


Fifteen prosthetic and orthotic technicians working at all the rehabilitation centres providing prosthetic and orthotic services in Sierra Leone were interviewed. The interviews were transcribed and subjected to latent content analysis.


One main theme emerged: sense of inability to deliver high-quality prosthetic and orthotic services. This main theme was generated from eight sub-themes: Desire for professional development; appraisals of work satisfaction and norms; patients neglected by family; limited access to the prosthetic and orthotic services available; problems with materials and machines; low public awareness concerning disabilities; marginalisation in society and low priority on the part of government.


The findings illustrated traditional beliefs about the causes of disability and that the public's attitude needs to change to include and value people with disabilities. Support from international organisations was considered necessary as well as educating more prosthetic and orthotic staff to a higher level.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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