The SUDA Project focuses on the strengthening of physical therapy as a profession in Mali, Niger and Senegal. It is implemented by Handicap International (HI) in partnership with the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT).
WCPT is the sole international voice for physical therapy, representing more than 350,000 physical therapists worldwide through its 112 member organisations. The confederation operates as a non-profit organisation and is registered as a charity in the UK and has an office located in London, UK.
HI is an international non-governmental organisation that works alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable populations in order to respond to their essential needs, support development of health, rehabilitation, social and economic integration programmes, to improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.
The project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and runs until January 2018. It has four main objectives:
- Strengthening three national physical therapy associations;
- Using WCPT standards to support three countries in improving physical therapist entry level education in order to advance towards WCPT accreditation;
- Develop a WCPT policy paper related to physical therapy assistants (PTAs);
- Augment Wheelchair Training within the physical therapy sector.
The SUDA Project is a response to a need to professionalise and strengthen physical therapy services in these conflict-affected countries for a large population of persons with disabilities. Physical therapy is the main professional rehabilitation service available in Mali, Niger and Senegal, and demands on physical therapists are high. However, there are very few of them, quality of the non-standardised entry level physical therapist professional education programmes is questionable, physical therapy national associations are weak, and the availability of wheelchairs is limited.
WCPT with its select group of mentors will provide technical assistance to physical therapy national associations and education institutions in Mali, Niger, and Senegal focusing on the first three objectives of the project. Mentors will directly contribute to strengthen professional capacity of physical therapy national associations in governance, management and advocacy, and improve quality and standards of the education programmes. WCPT will also review the role of PTAs within the rehabilitation workforce globally and in the process develop a policy on PTAs. WCPT mentors will support and guide the implementation of action plans for physical therapy associations, support the development of professional education modules, and participation in national conferences. WCPT mentors will also work with education institutions to advance along the WCPT education programme accreditation continuum.
The fourth project component on wheelchair training will be done with the support of Motivation, a charity set up to design and produce wheelchairs that are affordable and appropriate to many setting sin low income countries, thereby creating a fairer society that supports inclusion. They support this with appropriate training in the fitting and use of wheelchairs.