September 23, 2020
News Analysis

World Physiotherapy Day: Rehabilitating People Living with Covid-19

Every 8th September is celebrated as the World Physiotherapy Day.

The day was first celebrated in 1996 to commemorate the world confederation of physical therapy now known as world physiotherapy

The day was founded in 1951.

The global observance is to spread the word about the negative effects of immobility on body systems and functions, social participation and disability and to highlight the functions physiotherapists assume in preventing and mitigating the negative impact of immobility.

The day is an opportunity for physiotherapists from all over the world to raise awareness about the crucial contribution the profession makes to keeping people well, mobile and independent.

According to the chartered society of physiotherapy, physiotherapist workforce has a key role to play in the public health agenda through its contribution to the prevention of diseases, promotion of good health, particularly through physical activity and improvement in the general quality of life.

The theme for this year is rehabilitation and covid-19.

This emphasizes the rehabilitation needs of people with covid-19 as physiotherapists are vital to the rehabilitation efforts for people with covid-19 throughout the continuum of care.

The appropriate deployment of physiotherapists to reflect the local needs facilitates early discharge of people with covid-19, empowering individuals to self manage their rehabilitation and reduces the burden on scarce healthcare resources.

This is important to reduce morbidity and mortality as the world awaits vaccines and cures for the disease. 

These professionals are crucial in circumstances where movement and function is threatened by ageing, injury, pain, diseases, disorder or environmental factors, which encompasses physical, psychological, emotional and social wellbeing.

They provide services to individuals to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement to function throughout their lifespan. 

President, Nigeria Society of Physiotherapists, NPS, Taiwo Oyewumi, noted that Nigeria could only boast of four thousand registered physiotherapists, and that fifty percent of the nation’s registered physiotherapists have migrated to seek greener pasture.

Although the global ratio of physiotherapists stands at one to four thousand people, the country has one of the worst ratios in the world with one to one hundred and seventy thousand people, after recording a shortfall of more than forty thousand.

Nigeria still needs about forty-two thousand five hundred physiotherapists to be able to meet the growing demands of the citizens.

Despite the importance of physiotherapist for optimal public health of every nation’s citizenry, there is the need for more public health-oriented evidence-based physical therapy practice to reduce the challenges faced by the professionals.

It is pertinent for the government to raise the physiotherapy education to the level of doctor of physical therapy to meet the global standard of the profession.

Dr. Olubukola Olaleye  

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