The Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination (ZHO) has remained at the forefront of disability reforms to ensure proper care and inclusion. They have instituted technical training for not only their staff but also, students who are people with disabilities (people of determination.). Recently, ZHO announced a collaboration with Spentys with a strategic objective to advance adoption of 3D digital workflow in orthotic manufacturing to enhance rehabilitation care for people of determination in the UAE.
To understand more about the initiatives of the ZHO and gain insight on how they are incorporating 3D printing to empower people of determination, in this special AM Chronicle interview it was privilege for Aditya Chandavarkar, Managing Editor, AM Chronicle and Manoj Pillai, Editorial Advisory Group Member, AM Chronicle and Business Head, Jumbo 3D to be interacting with His Excellency Abdulla Abdulalee Abdulla Al Humaidan.
His Excellency Abdulla Abdulalee Abdulla Al Humaidan who is the Secretary-General of Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination since 2017. He was also the member of the board of Directors of Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination from 2012 to 2019 and is/has been a member of various key initiatives like the project on integrated framework for social services, National Rehabilitation Center (NRC) Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Abu Dhabi Higher Committee for Services for People of Determination – Ministry of Community Development, Supreme Committee of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak’s Program for Excellence and Community Intelligence, Social Sector Committee in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and also the Chairman of the Audit Committee – Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority since 2020. He has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Abu Dhabi School of Management and a Bachelor’s degree in General Management Information Systems from the Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi.
Manoj Pillai: Could you kindly share few initiatives you took in ZHO to further support the cause of People of Determination? How could these initiatives become a model and spread the message of inclusion to communities in other emirates and to the outside world?
ZHO’s mission is to enable and empower people of determination (POD) educationally, functionally, culturally, and socially in line with their abilities and aspirations towards effective community roles and social development. This does not only mean providing direct services but rather building on local and global partnerships that support the inclusion of PODs in different sectors. We have over 25 active initiatives at this moment that cover a full spectrum of disabilities. These initiatives include the 3D printing initiative which serves PODs and opens up job opportunities for them in the field as well, we have also launched developed a sign language dictionary for the UAE to unify the language across the country, and in addition, one of ZHO’s global initiatives is “Bridges of Hope” which has been launched in corporation with the Egyptian Government to provide social and psychological support to people of determination in 60 centers across Egypt.
Aditya Chandavarkar: What was the motivation of identifying 3D Printing as a technology of choice to adopt at ZHO?
To start of, ZHO has always researched ways to engage their students in the technological industry. And it has been founded that 3D printing is one of the highlights of the technological revolution in the modern era, as it broke into many industrial fields and sectors, and has proved its promising capabilities in several areas, including medical devices. It can also produce very complex and very precise shapes using a smaller number of materials, unlike traditional manufacturing methods. This provides the organization and the students the flexibility of using, producing, and learning the technology. We have also witnessed the promising enabling future of this technology and how it could be further used for people of determination in the future, specifically those with physical impairments.
Manoj Pillai: What role do you see 3D Printing playing in Orthotics and prosthetics in UAE and Middle East ? How well was the reception when you did the tie ups with various hospitals and international organizations?
The UAE has always been on top of all industrial advances and technologies especially in the field of artificial intelligence. It goes without saying that such technology is highly supported and encouraged across the country. And we could see that through the partnerships and agreements that ZHO has developed since the launch of this initiative. Hospitals and medical centers have shown their enthusiasm in utilizing this technology and procuring the skills of our carefully selected students to advance the use of 3D printing to create precisely made prosthetics. We continue to develop and train our students as demand arises. This is only the start of a very prosperous future in this field.
Aditya Chandavarkar: What are the challenges you see in adoption of 3D printing in Orthotics and prosthetics? Could you also comment on the role of medical insurance being a main enabler?
Technology is always advancing and renewing itself. There are always new technologies being introduced. And it takes some time to fully integrate them into society. This is also relevant in the case of 3D printing. Even though we have received a very supportive and positive response to this initiative, we believe that we must continuously encourage hospitals and medical centers to market this service and make it visible to those who need it.
Regarding the roles of medical insurance, we believe that all partners in this initiative are equally important to make the service available to everyone. Having medical insurance companies support this will definitely speed up accessing and developing this service.
Manoj Pillai: What are The Future plans of 3d printing at ZHO?
At ZHO we monitor technological advances carefully to ensure that are keeping up with advancements. 3D printing is a fast-growing industry and we must keeping running along with that growth by continuing our training programs, supporting our partners, initiating new collaborations, and researching.
Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination (ZHO) was established in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, as an umbrella for all humanitarian bodies, social services, people of determination institutions and any future bodies established in Abu Dhabi for humanitarian goals. The organization was established with the aim of aligning and consolidating the efforts made in the field of People of Determination care. His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of UAE, during his tenure as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, as per the directives of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, issued the Law No. (2) dated April 19, 2004, to form the organization. The Amiri decree No. (7), for the year 2014, has been issued, on 29/05/2014, forming a new Board of Directors for Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, chaired by His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan. With centers and clubs for People of Determination across Abu Dhabi, ZHO provides a range of integrated services that aim at rehabilitating disabled people for inclusion into the community. These services include training and education, vocational and therapeutic rehabilitation (assessment, early intervention, physiotherapy, functional therapy, speech therapy, and vocational training workshops), psychological care, family counseling, as well as supporting educational and sport activities.
Throughout its history, ZHO has made wide strides and considerable achievements, notably its expansion plans to accommodate disabled people all over the emirate of Abu Dhabi. All along, it was inspired by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on the need to widen the ZHO scope of service and create new sections and therapeutic units in all centers in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region.
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