Since its foundation in 1996, the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) has assisted thousands of people with mobility-related problems, including UXO (unexploded ordinance) survivors.
UXO (Unexploded Ordnance)
Since bombing missions ended in 1973, over 20,000 people in Laos have been killed or injured by UXO incidents. Many are amputees who require medical, rehabilitative, and social care for the rest of their lives.
Victims include children who mistake UXO for toys, farmers who accidentally detonate devices when striking the ground with farm tools, and families cooking meals outdoors when the heat from fires causes UXO to explode.
UXO survivors make up nearly one-third of COPE’s prosthesis patients.
COPE helps people with disabilities access orthotic and prosthetic devices, quality treatment and rehabilitation programs, which improves their capacity to participate in their communities and improves their quality of life.
COPE runs a mobile clinic that assesses new patients in regional and remote areas, repairs prosthetics, advises on stump and device care, distributes devices like crutches, provides physiotherapy assessments and advice, and refers patients to rehabilitation centres as needed.
Cope Laos in Vientiane
In Vientiane, the COPE Visitor Centre hosts a permanent exhibition of videos, photography, and sculptures that explain the deadly impact that cluster bombs and UXO have had on Laos.
By Digby Greenhalgh
Digby Greenhalgh is the founder of Explore Indochina, and a recognized expert on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. All motorcycle tours are designed and guided by Digby.