SIGN Fracture Care International Awarded Afghanistan Medal of Honor

Dr. Lewis Zirkle, president and founder of SIGN Fracture Care International in Richland, and Jeanne Dillner, SIGN CEO, received the Allama Sayed Jamaluddin Afghan Medal, Afghanistan’s second-highest honor, for SIGN’s work in treating more than 5,000 patients by providing education and SIGN implants and instruments to SIGN programs throughout Afghanistan.

[blockquote quote=”We are truly humbled by this tribute to SIGN’s work in Afghanistan.” source=”Jeanne Dillner, CEO of SIGN Fracture Care International” align=”right” max_width=”300px”]

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani presented the award to Zirkle and Dillner during the second Afghanistan-SIGN Orthopaedic and Traumatology Conference, held in November at Shahid Sardar Dawood Military Hospital in Kabul.

The first SIGN Program in Afghanistan launched in Kabul at Emergency Hospital in 2007. SIGN partnered with leading SIGN Surgeons to gather all orthopaedic surgeons within the Afghanistan borders at one location for the first Afghan-SIGN Orthopaedic and Traumatology Conference in 2008. “The surgeons traveled over insecure roads to attend this Conference,” said Zirkle. “Many had not known each other previously, and they developed a network to share innovations, results, and challenges they all must all endure to treat patients in Afghanistan. They collaborated on unique solutions to treat orthopaedic injuries then communicated their innovations, which have been used to treat many patients in Afghanistan since this Conference. The surgeons decided at this first Conference to create the Afghan Orthopaedic Society.”

By 2010, 10 hospitals had incorporated SIGN Programs into their orthopaedic surgery centers.

The second Afghan-SIGN Orthopaedic and Traumatology Conference took place Nov. 10-11.

General Abdul Khaliq, the Afghanistan Minister of Defense, and Dr. Ferozudin Feroz, the Minister of Public Health, kicked off the event with remarks.

“Dr. Feroz remarked that the Afghanistan surgeons have praised the SIGN Program of supplying implants and training for making such a positive impact in the lives of the injured soldiers and civilians,” Dillner said.

The 29 surgeons representing orthopaedic departments from around the country presented results of SIGN surgery in their hospitals. If they did not have SIGN implants available, they showed how they had improvised to provide orthopaedic care for their patients.

More than 200 surgeons from hospitals throughout the country attended the Conference.

“I humbly respect the Afghanistan surgeons who treat their patients with great skill under difficult and insecure circumstances as they also try to maintain a normal family life with their families,” Zirkle said.

The Allama Sayed Jamaluddin Afghan Medal is the second-highest honor for civilians in Afghanistan. Sayed Jamaluddin Afghan was a famous Islamic scholar and philosopher of the late 19th century.

“We are truly humbled by this tribute to SIGN’s work in Afghanistan, we feel this commendation is shared with the entire SIGN Family,” said Dillner. “Our donors, tireless volunteers, dedicated staff, and SIGN Surgeons create the opportunity to heal thousands worldwide every year.”

SIGN Fracture Care International based in Richland is dedicated to creating equality of fracture care throughout the developing world.  Founded in 1999, by Zirkle, SIGN works with surgeons in 50 developing countries treating the injured poor.  They design, manufacture and donate — or sell at an affordable cost — orthopaedic implants for use in under resourced hospitals.  The impact of the SIGN IM Nail System has allowed surgeons to treat more than 158,000 patients.  SIGN is known for their creative and innovative designs and received the 2013 Patent for Humanity Award.

For more information or to donate to SIGN, visit

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