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The road to greater engagement with low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)

How we got here

AO Alliance is one of the most ambitious initiatives that determines to reduce orthopedic injury-related morbidity and mortality in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We accomplish this by teaching and supporting best practices in patient care and the uptake of appropriate trauma and orthopedic nonoperative and operative principles.

1958 – AO Foundation

The AO Foundation (Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen – Association for the Study of Internal Fixation) was inaugurated in 1958 by 13 Swiss surgeons. Having experienced firsthand the benefits of internal fixation of fractures using implants, they set out to promote the study of this relatively new branch of surgery and to spread the news to others by teaching principles of operative fracture treatment.

Right from the early days, the AO was outward-looking, establishing reciprocal contacts with centers of excellence in Europe, North America, Asia and Latin America, and disseminating information to surgeons, trainees and nurses throughout the world.

1999 – AO SEC

As an organization with an international and diversified outlook, it was clear to the AO Foundation that the care of the injured in LMICs suffered in comparison to high-income countries, not just because of financial constraints, but also because of a lack of trained personnel and access to technology. The AO Socio-Economic Committee (AO SEC) was set up to address this. For more than 15 years, it played a major role in projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, in Asia Pacific and in Latin America. Fellowships, customized courses and instructions from visiting surgeons, via mostly local faculty, were provided to medical personnel in LMICs to raise fracture care standards in a locally sustainable way.

2015 – AO Alliance

While fracture care education and fellowship activities of AO SEC continued to expand, it became clear that the need to improve fracture care in LMICs required a more focused approach to be able to expand. AO Alliance was officially founded in January 2015 independent of the AO Foundation, engaging in capacity building activities to enhance the care of injuries in LMICs.

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