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alumni news

World Spine Care extends reach

Patients waiting for care at the spine clinic in Shoshong, Botswana.
Botswana women sitting outside

World Spine Care (WSC), began with a spine clinic in Shoshong, Botswana, and is about to establish spinal health programs in three more countries: Tanzania, the Dominican Republic and India. Additionally, it has begun a scholarship program with chiropractic colleges, including Palmer, to allow qualified students from the countries where WSC has a presence to study chiropractic, eventually returning to their home countries to provide care.

Hildah Molate in the David D. Palmer Health Sciences Library.
Hildah Molate holding spine model

“The WSC mission can only be sustained if there is a mechanism in place that will lead to the ability to hand over the programs to trained people from the community,” says WSC Founder Scott Haldeman, D.C., M.D., Ph.D., Davenport ‘64. Palmer’s first WSC scholarship student, Hildah Molate from Gabarone, Botswana, began her studies at the Davenport Campus in March 2014.  

In Botswana, the WSC community spine clinic in the village of Shoshong is thriving, and WSC chiropractors have full privileges in the nearby Mahalapye District Hospital. “We have had nearly 1,000 patients go through the clinic and 15 volunteers providing services,” says Dr. Haldeman. Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research faculty member Maria Hondras, D.C., M.P.H., is currently conducting research in Shoshong about the “Prevalence, burden and care of spinal disorders among Botswana in Village Shoshong” through the University of Southern Denmark.

A memorandum of understanding has been established to develop WSC clinics in the village of Kanyama, Tanzania, and in the nearby Magu District Hospital, with plans to have the first WSC volunteers in place by summer 2014. In the Dominican Republic, WSC is close to agreement on a memorandum of understanding to establish clinics in a local hospital and a nearby village. The WSC project in India is on hold while a new hospital is being built, but WSC has signed a memorandum of understanding with a major university in Mumbai that will serve as a collaborating center with WSC for research and establishing clinics.

Great strides have been made since WSC’s inception in 2008. According to Dr. Haldeman, the organization has demonstrated it is capable of establishing and maintaining spinal care programs in underserved and remote areas of the world, and that there is a real need for these clinics. Additionally, WSC has proven that these clinics can function as primary spine care programs under the leadership of chiropractors.

But there’s more work to be done. Dr. Haldeman asks chiropractors to visit www.worldspinecare.org, click on the “sign up for updates” button and make a donation or start a fundraising campaign. “Faculty, alumni or students should consider volunteering at one of the clinics,” Dr. Haldeman says. “There are more than one billion people in the world with spinal pain, most of whom have no access to care. WSC is grateful for the support it has received from Palmer and is looking forward to ongoing collaboration with the College and its alumni.”

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