Developing education programmes in rehabilitation was the key theme for the WCPT’s recent week-long visit to Tajikistan to meet with representatives of government, education, hospitals, and other stakeholders.
The visit to Tajikistan was part of a WHO-led programme, in response to an initiative by the Tajik government to build a collaborative approach to improve the provision and delivery of physiotherapy education and services in the country.
WCPT Programme Manager Sidy Dieye said: “The need to improve physiotherapy education and practices in Tajikistan was equally met by the overwhelming willingness of all parties for change. The timing couldn’t be better for this mission.”
As well as meeting representatives of the Tajik government’s Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the WCPT team (WCPT Programme Manager Sidy Dieye and Australian physiotherapist and WCPT consultant Heather Dawson) visited rehabilitation hospitals in Dushanbe and the Republican Medical College where plans are progressing to include a curriculum for a bachelor’s programme in physiotherapy. Other projects being explored include a training of trainers program, internship opportunities for students and post graduate education in physiotherapy.
More than 180,000 children and adults with disabilities are currently registered in Tajikistan and, together with people with non-communicable diseases and older people, make up the greatest need for rehabilitation services.
To address this, the Tajikistan government has developed an action plan, the National Programme on Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities 2017-2020, to build on making a health system that is accessible to everyone and is staffed with well-trained healthcare professionals.
WHO and WCPT have been in an official relationship since 1951. This is the first time the partnership has been converted to make an impact at a country level to improve the education and establishment of the profession of physiotherapy in Tajikistan. A report on the visit is currently being drafted and both parties are committed to working with the Tajik government to support their goals around improving physiotherapy education and services.