The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is calling on physical therapists and their institutions worldwide to share expertise with physical therapy schools in parts of the world badly affected by conflict and armed violence.
The ICRC works worldwide to provide humanitarian assistance for people affected by conflict. Barbara Rau, the physiotherapy technical coordinator who works within the physical rehabilitation department of the ICRC, says that in many conflict zones – where physical therapy services could play a major role in rebuilding lives – physical therapy education and training needs developing to equip physical therapists to meet needs.
“The ICRC doesn’t have enough physiotherapists and educators to send out to all those areas in need” she says. “But we want to find other ways of supporting and raising the standards and content of existing entry level physiotherapy education programmes to equip them to meet the needs of these contexts.”
Countries such as Chad, Myanmar, Republique Démocratique du Congo, Iraq and Yemen are all affected by the consequences of armed violence and ICRC has identified them as countries where support would be valuable.
ICRC would like to establish a link between programmes in these countries and physical therapist educators and institutions as a first step towards more formal work, says Barbara Rau. “We hope, by establishing these links, to make available advice and expertise on the curriculum, teaching methods, and reliable sources of information. There’s a real need to provide a gateway to the latest knowledge and resources such as clinical guidelines, as well as the skills in applying them to support evidence based physiotherapy practice.”
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