I am proud to be part of the history of the first and only global body representing all physical therapists.
Physical therapists (known in some countries as physiotherapists) maximise people’s movement potential. They are specialists in physical activity, promoting health, fitness, and wellness. They identify physical impairments, limitations, activity restrictions, and disabilities that prevent people from being as active and independent as they might be and find ways of overcoming them.
Since 1951, the Confederation has bound this profession together across national boundaries, providing it with international leadership, consistency and strength – and guidelines, practice standards and policy statements that provide a baseline of quality. Today, through its member organisations, WCPT represents more than 350,000 physical therapists around the world.
Despite its achievements, WCPT is deeply aware of how much there is still to do. The profession is still struggling for recognition in many parts of the world, at a time when the need for good quality physical therapy services is greater than ever. There is a growing global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, smoke-related diseases, and cancer, recognised as priorities for action by the United Nations and the World Health Organization.
Physical therapists already work with millions of people every year to prevent and overcome these conditions and their risk factors. But their impact could be much more if there were wider acknowledgement of our contribution to keeping populations healthy and reducing health costs. We must be recognised as exercise experts across the lifespan. We must be the ones that ministers of health and governmental health agencies seek out for advice on exercise guidelines in the face of NCDs. And we must be at the forefront of pushing our societies to increase physical activity and exercise.
We all share a commitment to making the lives of those we serve better. As a collective, we have the strength to be an indispensable and powerful force – both today and tomorrow.