Dinesh Verma of the SPA addresses the international conference.

Championing PT for 50 years: Singapore association celebrates with international event

The Singapore Physiotherapy Association celebrated its 50th birthday with an international conference with participants from 22 countries.

The association received acclaim from the Singapore Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who described the SPA as a “champion of professional standards of physiotherapists” over its history. In a speech to delegates, he said that the role of the profession would become increasingly important in Singapore as the population aged. “We hope to continue to level-up the quality of care in this sector,” he said, saying that the Singapore government was taking steps to make rehabilitation more affordable.

“Early intervention by physiotherapists can alleviate medical complications, expedite recovery and reduce hospitalisation stay,” he said.

The conference, held over four days at the Raffles City Convention Centre in May, included presentations by internationally-acclaimed speakers including: David Baxter from the University of Otago, New Zealand; Marco Pang from Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Fabio Pitta from State University of Londrina, Brazil; and Trudy Rebbeck from the University of Sydney, Australia. There were also professional workshops and a public forum.

Dinesh Verma, outgoing President of the SPA, said that the first ever Singapore International Congress was a great success. “We rose above the challenges and managed to make it an international event where almost 40% of participants were from 21 foreign countries. There were opportunities to meet and greet friends and colleagues, both local and from overseas and pioneers of the association.”

Alongside the congress, the SPA held its annual general meeting and a 50th anniversary gala dinner. “Together, the 50th anniversary celebrations were the biggest our association has ever organised,” said Dinesh Verma. “With the WCPT Congress coming to Singapore next year, this is a very exciting time for the association.”

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