In 2011, WSC launched a pilot project in the rural village of Shoshong, Botswana to spearhead the development of a viable model of care for spinal conditions in underserved regions around the world.
The Shoshong project is:
- Developing sustainable capacity for effective spinal care in Shoshong and the regional health district;
- Implementing and evaluating spinal care screening, assessment, and treatment protocols, and the associated front-line health worker training program.
- Conducting research: including an ethnographic study of the burden of spinal conditions in Shoshong, longitudinal treatment outcome studies, and research tracking the nature and frequency of musculoskeletal conditions occurring in patients who are living with HIV/AIDS.
- Integrating into the health services provided by WSC such indigenous and alternative health care practices as are lawful in Botswana.
A primary spine care clinic has been operating in the village of Shoshong, Botswana since 2012. Over 20 volunteer clinicians had served in this clinic by the end of 2014. The clinic serves as a center for the screening of serious pathology and the diagnosis and management of patients with spinal and musculoskeletal disorder. In addition, the clinic operates as the nexus of research dedicated to the development and testing of outcome measures following treatment and the development of evidence based treatment protocols.
A diagnostic rehabilitation center and second primary care clinic has been established in the Mahalapye District Hospital. The secondary diagnostic and treatment component of this program is for management of those patients who have been identified at the primary clinics to require more advanced care. This center has basic x-ray and laboratory facilities as well as access to advanced imaging and primary medical and surgical specialists.
Patients who require advanced diagnostic facilities such as MRI, advanced surgical care or surgery are referred to the are transferred to the major teaching hospitals in Gaborone, under arrangement with the Botswana Ministry of Health, WSC’s partner in the WSC Shoshong project. Volunteer spine surgeons and medical specialists including rheumatologists and neurologists affiliated with WSC are available to act as consultants to local specialists, provide education on the latest methods of managing complex spinal disorders and to assist on the management of more complex cases.
The expected outcomes of the Project are:
- Improved healthcare for people with spinal disorders and injuries in Shoshong and adjacent communities
- The establishment of community education programs to reduce the impact of spinal disorders
- To provide an ongoing and sustainable spine care program in Botswana through the training of primary spine care clinicians that can then provide similar programs in other communities.
Dr. Benoit graduated as a Doctor of Chiropractic from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières in 2016. She developed a special interest about people’s health in under-privileged communities when she did a humanitarian chiropractic mission in Dominican Republic as a clinic intern in July 2015. This experience made her fully appreciate the need for accessible chiropractic care around the globe. Throughout her internship, she seized the opportunity to diversify her skills by providing care to athletes from college sports teams and during sporting events. She also participated in various seminars such as Motion Palpation Technique, Active Release Technique, SOT and Applied Kinesiology in order to extend her scope of practice. She has been involved in the different stages of research projects in the university teaching clinic. When she first heard about World Spine care, she knew that it would perfectly combine her diverse interests, and she decided to become a WSC clinic supervisor in Botswana for one year. She is excited to spend her time offering musculoskeletal care in this new environment and helping educate the local people of Botswana about their health.
Aline is a new graduate from the Welsh Institute of Chiropractic (United Kingdom). Throughout her years at University, she was actively involved in the WIOC Student Society and the World Congress of Chiropractic Students. It is also during this period that she became passionate about World Spine Care and its work. On graduating Aline was awarded a prize for her final year Research Project, Leadership and received the Mark Davies Memorial Award. She has now joined the WSC team as a Clinic Supervisor in Botswana. She is passionate about the integration of Chiropractic into the wider healthcare system and patient education. In her spare time, Aline loves to travel and experience new cultures, dance, swim and take part in outdoors activities.