Conference participants, WCPT representatives and members of the TPTA toast the profession on World Physical Therapy Day.

Taiwan congress sees the profession moving forward in Asia Western Pacific

A total of 1,019 delegates from 32 countries gathered in Taichung, Taiwan, in September for the sixth regional congress of WCPT’s Asia Western Pacific region. The event, hosted by the Taiwan Physical Therapy Association (TPTA), included workshops, symposia, scientific presentations – and spectacular celebrations of World Physical Therapy Day on 8th September. 

One participant, Kanda Chaiponyo from Thailand, said she was deeply impressed by the participation of physical therapists from so many countries – not just from the Asia Western Pacific region, but also from the Africa and North America Caribbean regions.

“The feeling of being one among a thousand physical therapists was so memorable,” she said. “Another great thing was the research presented by physical therapy students – it really assured that the profession is growing based on evidence. We all can see our profession moving forward together.”

The congress, incorporating the 12th International Congress of the Asian Confederation for Physical Therapy (ACPT), was entitled “Health promotion through physical therapy” and focused on exchanging experiences and knowledge, facilitating ideas and finding solutions. 

Keynote speakers included Gillian Webb from the University of Melbourne, the regional chair, and Rob Herbert from the University of New South Wales.

The scientific sessions attracted a large number of participants. Important issues under discussion included reforms to entry-level physical therapy education in the region (a session chaired by WCPT President Professor Marilyn Moffat and the TPTA President Suh-Fang Jeng) and the influence of WCPT’s international policies on the profession and global health (chaired by the WCPT’s Africa Regional Representative Joyce Mothabeng). 

“A remarkable feature of this year’s congress was that a significant amount of oral and poster presentation were contributed by graduate and undergraduate PT students as well as by clinical therapists,” said Suh-Fang Jeng. “This may indicate the growth of evidence-based concepts and practice in the region.”    

The congress concluded with a gala dinner of nearly 300 guests in the Windsor Hotel, Taichung, on 8th September, World Physical Therapy Day. The dinner started with a presentation to WCPT President Moffat to mark her contribution to the profession in Taiwan over more than 30 years. Delegates from various countries were then invited to the stage to say “Health promotion through physical therapy” in their own language. During a traditional Taiwanese ten-course banquet, there were performances including hip-hop dance by local students and a Chinese zodiac exercise led by TPTA Former President Wen-Jen Chien.

Suh-Fang Jeng said that this was a significant event for physical therapists in Taiwan. “Since becoming a full member of WCPT in 1982 Taiwan physical therapists have often attended WCPT and regional activities, but this is the first time that physical therapists in Taiwan have felt so close and attached to WCPT and its regional business.”

“Several generations of PTs in Taiwan worked together to organise the congress over the past two years, and the experience of international participation has no doubt had a lasting effect on the younger PTs.” 

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