»   Press release - January 2012

Press release - January 2012

In remote areas of the world, where medical facilities are primitive or non-existent, a broken leg often goes untreated. An untreated fracture can often heal with crippling deformity leaving the person unable to work. There is also a high risk of blood clots when a broken leg heals poorly.

The Canadian Association of Medical Teams Abroad (CAMTA), in association with the Surgical Implant Generation Network (SIGN) has been working hard to bring basic surgical implant equipment and technology to rural hospitals in Ecuador. The SIGN program delivers and all-encompassing system of training, hardware, and follow-up to orthopaedic surgeons in developing countries. This system is specifically designed for use in hospitals where fluoroscopy and power equipment are not available. More than 200 hospitals in 48 developing countries now use the SIGN system, resulting in more than 70,000 patients receiving leg fracture treatment since 1999.

For the last two years CAMTA surgeons have visited chosen hospitals in rural Ecuador to donate a SIGN Nail system for fracture treatment of the femur, tibia or humerus, and to train local surgeons in it’s use. In February, the CAMTA team will deliver the implants and the necessary surgical hardware to a third hospital and train local surgeons in its use. The CAMTA team will return to the hospital in 2013 to provide follow-up supplies and training. These SIGN Nail sites are the first in Ecuador.

Dr. Telmo Tapia, the first Ecuadorian orthopedic surgeon trained by CAMTA in the SIGN system, has been selected as a scholarship recipient for the 9th Annual International Pediatric Orthopaedic Symposium of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, the world’s largest pediatric organization. Dr. Tapia will travel to Orlando, Florida in December to attend the symposium to learn more about modern orthopedic care. Dr. Tapia has been instrumental in introducing the SIGN system in his home town, Cuenca, and in Loja. He will help the CAMTA surgeons as they introduce the system to the surgeons at Babahoya near Guayaquil.  Dr. Tapia has also donated his time and talents to  translate the SIGN manual into Spanish. CAMTA hopes that with Dr. Tepia’s enthusiasm and expertise the SIGN system can be introduced to all 25 provinces in Ecuador.

Since 2001 CAMTA, a group of Edmonton-based medical practitioners, has traveled to Ecuador to provide orthopedic surgery to pediatric and adult patients, and continuing education on detection and treatment practices to medical personnel in Ecuador.

Plans are well underway for CAMTA’s eleventh annual visit to Ecuador next month. Almost one hundred volunteers, pediatric and adult orthopedic surgeons, anesthetists, family medicine doctors, respiratory technicians, physiotherapists, O.R., recovery room and ward nurses, residents, nursing and medical students, lay people, general students and translators will work together to perform up to 80 surgeries in a two week period.  All CAMTA team members volunteer their time and expertise and raise the funds necessary to cover their travel and expenses.

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Marc Moreau

CAMTA President 



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