To fight against one of the world’s biggest killers
Injuries account for 5.8 million deaths per year worldwide – that’s more than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria put together. However, millions of deaths from trauma could be prevented if appropriate trauma care became more widely available in low income countries. Bone trauma resulting from fractures can be considered a major burden of disease. Bone trauma severity, particularly road related, is a key predictor of subsequent mortality. Improvement in timely orthopedic care is critical to mitigate the burden of injury worldwide. This is the goal of the AO Alliance Foundation – to be the driving force in making this happen.
We at the AO Alliance Foundation do it by supporting healthcare professionals caring for patients with musculoskeletal injuries, acute and neglected, in the low income countries, providing them with relevant education, training and clinical services support to improve the availability and capacity of fracture care.
We have identified three windows of activities that work synergistically to enable us to achieve our goals:
1. Improving fracture care in the long term
We work with local healthcare providers, governments and partner organizations in low income countries to assess their local needs and develop regional and country programs to enhance fracture care. Fracture care involves caring for people who present with acute fractures as well as those with neglected fractures in the peripheral skeleton (long bones), the face and the spine.
All our programs are established with clearly defined objectives, timelines, costs and locally sustainable interventions. We place great emphasis on educating and training local healthcare providers in the principles of operative and nonoperative fracture management, so we can ensure that improvements in local fracture care are sustained in the long term.
Currently, our work focuses on seven low income countries in Africa and Asia that have received no or little previous support or education from the AO Foundation: Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Myanmar, Nepal and Senegal. See Where we work to find out more.
2. Building capacity according to priority needs in individual countries
We also recognize the need to build local capacity in some low income countries where activities of the AO Foundation are already in place to improve trauma management. Complementing existing programs, our capacity-building efforts are comprehensive, coordinated and directly relevant to the circumstances of each country concerned.
3. Supporting surgeon-initiated projects
Acknowledging that a collaborative approach is needed to empower healthcare providers in low income countries to care for musculoskeletal injuries, we support AO surgeons who engage in capacity building and patient care activities that directly benefit low income patients in poor countries. This window of opportunity focuses on improving existing structures and helping local surgeons and institutions increase their impact in patient care.
Our work is not about teaching and leaving. It’s about local solutions for long-term sustainability. It’s lifelong and life-changing.