Finally sitting together again and exchanging ideas in person – that was the predominant topic of the opening of the world’s leading trade fair and world congress OTWorld on the 10th. May in the Leipzig exhibition halls in front of hundreds of guests from all over the world. After four years of corona-related forced break, orthopaedic technicians, orthopaedic shoe technicians, doctors and physiotherapists from around 70 countries travel to the most important industry meeting place in the world to jointly shape the future of aid supply in Germany, Europe and the world. That I can see you all. Perfect! Much better than on any screen!” explained Alf Reuter, President of the Federal Guild Association for Orthopaedic Technology (BIV-OT). He welcomed a Ukrainian delegation around the parliamentarian and head of the parliamentary committee on health, Mychailo Radutsky, as well as the deputy minister of health, Iryna Mykychak, among the opening guests.


Federal Minister of Health Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach: Aid supply is an elementary building block for an inclusive society


The Federal Minister of Health, Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach, in his virtual opening speech on the supply services of medical supply stores and orthopedic workshops: “I am happy to take the opportunity to thank you all for maintaining care under difficult conditions.” The pandemic was also a pacemaker for the aid industry in terms of digitization, says Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach continues. “Manufacturing processes and products themselves are becoming more digital. This benefits the precision and individuality of the aids. After all, it can also make the products cheaper,” said the Federal Minister of Health. The aid industry moves at the interface of person to technology. Technology that helps people maintain or restore their abilities. Aids enable people with physical disabilities to live a self-determined life and social participation. Demographic change, the increasing spread of chronic diseases, the increasing demands on self-determined forms of life even in old age and disability – all of these are omens for the great need for aids. “This demand will increase dynamically worldwide in the coming years and decades. The supply of aids is an elementary building block for an inclusive society,” the minister continued. In short, your creativity and commitment are in great demand. Certainly, this time’s OTWorld will also provide valuable impulses.”


International lighthouse


Alf Reuter then thanked the Federal Minister of Health not only for his greeting: “My thanks go out for providing the care of refugees from Ukraine so fast. If we get Ukrainian patients into our homes, we can provide care quickly. A big thank you for that!” The support of politics is fundamental to the further development of the supply of aid, emphasized the BIV-OT president. The industry also got this from Lord Mayor Burkhard Jung, who also took part in the opening. The organizers, Martin Buhl-Wagner, Managing Director of Leipziger Messe, also expressed their joy at the beginning OTWorld: “It is a huge pleasure to welcome you all here, and there will be an international personal exchange here in the next few days.” OTWorld is the international lighthouse for the industry, said Alf Reuter: “Here is the chance to take a close look at the products and inform yourself in the congress.”


Building bridges


In the round table moderated by Henning Quanz, the participants commented on the contradiction between the war in Europe and the international exchange in Leipzig.


“Of course, it is exciting to see what has been developed worldwide in the last four years,” said Claude Tardiff, President of the International Society of Prosthetics and Orthoticcs (ISPO). However, it should not be forgotten that millions of people could not receive medical care during the pandemic. And now we have two hours’ flight away a war and many refugees in Europe. We must now ensure that the people of Ukraine can be cared for. We do not know exactly how many people need to be provided with aids such as prostheses, orthoses or wheelchairs.” He wants to send out a message for peace in the world from the fair, said Congress President Prof. Martin Engelhardt from Osnabrück Hospital. “Worlds connect in the tense time, is first of all an obligation to build bridges for peace. An OTWorld with its motto connect worlds can contribute to this. Now it would also be a matter of connecting peoples.” Already in the name of OTWorld, it says that the industry wants to see and learn internationally, added Congress President Merkur Alimusaj. “The subject is about supporting people. Not just a business. We must respectfully think about how we want to shape the supply of aids economically and intellectually in the future and not forget the craft.”


René Baumgartner Prize to Prof. Dr. med. Heinrich Heß and Klaus-Jürgen Lotz awarded


Connecting worlds – this motto of this time’s OTWorld was given by Prof. René Baumgartner lived like hardly any other in the industry. Born in Switzerland in 1930, the physician is considered the bridge builder in orthopedics and orthopedics technology. The honorary prize of the German Society for Interdisciplinary Aid Supply (DGIHV), which was awarded for the first time as part of the OTWorld opening, was named after him. In the presence of daughter Colette Baumgartner, Klaus-Jürgen Lotz, Honorary President of the Federal Guild Association for Orthopaedic Technology, and Prof. Dr. med. Heinrich Heß, the sports physician, was honored with the Rene Baumgartner Prize from 1974 to 1996, the doctor of the German national football team for her outstanding achievements in technical and medical orthopedics. Under the applause of the 600 guests, the laudators presented Prof. Wolfram Mittelmeier from Rostock University Hospital and Chairman of the DGIHV as well as Alf Reuter received the honorary prizes.


Finally, Prof. Bertolt Meyer, Prof. for Business Psychology at Chemnitz University of Technology and DJ at the desk.



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