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International Prosthetics and Orthotics Day

The International Society on Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) launched the International Prosthetics and Orthotics Day to be November 5th annually. The aim of this day is to highlight and raise awareness of the importance of prostheses and orthoses (P&O) for users and the need to provide further resources to ensure equitable and appropriate access to prosthetic and orthotic services.

The Professional Board for Occupational Therapy, Medical Orthotics, Prosthetics and Arts Therapy, will honour the International Prosthetic and Orthotic day by looking at the strides achieved in the O&P field in South Africa over the years.

History of O&P In South Africa
The profession of orthotics and prosthetics began with the training of tradesmen as bonesetters and brace makers and evolved after the First and Second World War to in-service training of orthotists and prosthetists with the establishment of national and international Artificial Limb Centres. Standardisation of training led to the introduction of a National Diploma: Medical Orthotics and Prosthetics (equivalent to ISPO Category II) at Technikon Pretoria in 1985. The ISPO recognised the need for Category I professionals in developing countries to train and supervise Category II and III professionals. This, together with the larger international context of orthotist/prosthetist training, set a specific standard or social reality by which southern African training would be benchmarked. The approval and introduction of a new learning programme in B-Tech: Medical Orthotics and Prosthetics at Tshwane University of Technology in 2003 represented the first step towards the international recognition of orthotists and prosthetists as key members of the rehabilitation team

Where Are We?
Currently, South Africa has three universities that offer a qualification in Medical Prosthetics and Orthotics namely Durban University of Technology (DUT), Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and Walter Sisulu University (WSU). A graduate in Medical Orthotics and Prosthetics (BHSc: MOP) programme is capable of practising as a clinician, developing and managing a clinic/ laboratory or providing services as a private practitioner. These professionals have to be registered with HPCSA under the Occupational Therapy Medical Orthotics and Prosthetics and Arts Therapy Board in accordance with the Health Professions Act No. 56 of 1974, to practise and provide services through both private and public sectors.

Part of us
As part of our profession the orthopaedic footwear technicians register with the OCP Board after completing a board examination. They are registered in the category of supervised practice and are allowed to treat patients for surgical footwear. The orthotic and prosthetic assistants are still trained in-service for two years and after in-service training they are then practitioners that assist the Medical Orthotist and Prosthetist in the laboratory with manufacturing of orthotic and prosthetic devices.

The OCP Board would like to thank the stakeholders that are involved in growing the future of this profession.

  • The universities that are implementing higher qualifications
  • The associations, MOPASA and SAOPA, that deals with matters regarding private and public sector.
  • The practitioners that manage their practices ethically and provide services to clients that needs orthotics and prosthetic services.
  • The practitioners that further their qualifications in Masters and PHD in O&P related fields.
  • The international association for prosthetics and orthotics that align different countries, standards, policies and guidelines.

Last Updated on 6 November 2023 by HPCSA Corporate Affairs