Prosthetist-Orthotist - Master of Prosthetics and Orthotics: Systemic Changes in Ukraine's P&O Industry

Protez Hub обмін досвідом протезистів

The level of prosthetics and orthotics in Ukraine began to develop rapidly with the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war, back in 2014. 


The Protez Hub team (at that time, Ukraine Prosthetic Assistance Project) in collaboration with Prosthetika regularly conducted practical professional exchanges for Ukrainian specialists with foreign colleagues and worked with government agencies on the sustainable development of the industry (including the implementation of necessary legislative initiatives).

Since the full-scale invasion, the number of Ukrainians who have lost limbs has increased significantly. In addition, planned amputations due to diseases have not stopped either.

Over the past 8 years, a lot of preparatory work has been done, which has allowed us to move to the implementation of long-term, systemic changes.

Who are the prosthetics and orthotics specialists in Ukraine? Where did they get their education and experience?

Until Protez Hub, as part of the War Trauma Rehabilitation in Ukraine project in 2023, assembled a working group that included representatives of the profession, ministries, the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics and the American Certification Board for Prosthetics, Orthotics and Pedorthics and developed the professional standard 'Prosthetist-Orthotist' in accordance with international standards, there was no profession in Ukraine that met these standards. Anyone could call themselves a prosthetist or orthotist: from a person who had a higher education in another specialty and learned to make prosthetic or orthotic devices through an internship at a P&O center, to a person who did not obtain any higher education and also learned to make prosthetic or orthotic devices through an internship at a P&O center. Some of these specialists have extensive experience and, seeking professional improvement, regularly took additional courses; others have not changed their approaches for years and have not taken into account global trends in their practice.


According to a new professional standard published on the website of the National Qualifications Agency, a prosthetist-orthotist is a specialist who carries out evidence-based professional activities to provide clinical assessment, prescription, technical design and manufacture of prostheses and/or orthoses; determines goals and a rehabilitation plan that includes prosthetics/orthotics services to achieve clinical outcomes. This profession aims to ensure that service recipients have equal opportunities to participate fully in society.

An prosthetist-orthotist is a specialist in the field of healthcare, and the profession is regulated.

Recently, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine reported that "in accordance with Article 10 of the Law of Ukraine "On Rehabilitation in the Healthcare Sector", prosthetist-orthotist is classified as a rehabilitation specialist, and the profession of "prosthetist-orthotist" is included in the national Classifier of Professions. The specialty "Prosthetics and Orthotics" was introduced and included in the Nomenclature of Specialties of Healthcare Professionals, and the cycles of specialization and thematic improvement in this specialty were approved."

Can anyone who makes prostheses now automatically become a prosthetist-orthotist and are there any training programs for prosthetists-orthotists in accordance with the new professional standard?

Today, there are about 30-35 experienced professionals in Ukraine who can qualify as prosthetists and orthotists by completing a specialization course.
"In Ukraine, there are specialists who have received a related higher education, have completed all possible courses and have a lot of experience. It makes no sense to reject them. In cooperation with Kharkiv National Medical University and the University of Jönköping (Sweden), we give these specialists the opportunity to confirm that they have the relevant knowledge and skills that meet the requirements of the professional standard. We are proud that this initiative has been supported by the American Certification Board for Prosthetics, Orthotics and Pedorthics" - explains Antonina Kumka, CEO of Protez Hub.

In the West, only a prosthetist-orthotist is authorized to work directly with patients. The education of such a specialist is either at the bachelor's or master's level.

"The quality of prosthetics and orthotics services is of great importance, and therefore, appropriate training of specialists in this field is extremely important," emphasizes Olena Kulchytska, Advisor to the Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine.

For those new to the profession, a Master's degree program at three universities will be launched. For this purpose, the Protez Hub team, with the involvement of foreign experts and with the support of the Nova Ukraine Foundation, initiated and launched the process of developing an educational standard.

"We believe that Ukraine can be self-sufficient with regards to the profession of a prosthetist-orthotist, and I am pleased that the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Policy and the Ministry of Education support the movement in this direction, in accordance with international standards," said Jonathan Batzdorff, chairman of the Protez Hub expert council, an American certified prosthetist-orthotist.

The first group of experienced specialists is already undergoing a specialization course at Kharkiv National Medical University, with the support of foreign colleagues.

"I am honoured to have the opportunity to contribute to the development of the prosthetist-orthotist profession in Ukraine. This is an important historical moment in the industry that will allow Ukrainians to develop prosthetics and orthotics in line with how we have built it in the EU or how it works in the US. This is great news!" says Anton Johansson, PhD and certified prosthetist-orthoticist from Sweden.


To learn more about the methodology Protez Hub uses for the development of the prosthetics and orthotics industry in Ukraine, read the position paper.