As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark this year’s World Physical Therapy Day on 8th September, members of the Nigerian Society of Physiotherapy (NSP) called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on the practice of physiotherapy in the country and create a Directorate of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation in the Federal Ministry of Health, as a way of boosting decision and policy making regarding physiotherapy and medical rehabilitation issues in the country.
The National President of the NSP, Mr Taiwo Oyewumi made the call during a press conference at the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Lokoja to commemorate the day. He said the nation required over 42,000 physiotherapists to manage the nation’s health system, which he described as old fashioned and lacked adequate professional personnel across the country.
“As against the 42,000 physiotherapists required to cater for the country, only about 4,000 physiotherapists are registered and certified and we currently have about 1,000 physiotherapists gainfully employed, the rest are working outside the country, this to us, is a state of emergency,” stated Oyewumi. “Physiotherapists are very essential to all professions or field as they work in the academic settings, sporting environments, primary health care centre, military among others. “Our members are ready to drive medical tourism in Nigeria if more physiotherapists are employed and right equipment is provided and we believe this will impact positively on the health status of Nigerians and safe a lot of monies spent on medical expenses outside Nigeria”
“There is need for a Directorate of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation in the Federal Ministry of Health that will boost decision and policy making regarding physiotherapy and medical rehabilitation issues, with this we implore government at all levels as matter of urgency to relate with NSP on setting up a world model rehabilitation centers in the six-geopolitical zones in the country,” the NSP president said.
In his speech, Oyewumi said the message for this year World Physical Therapy Day was “Fulfilling Potential”. He further emphasised that physiotherapists have a key role in helping people with long-term conditions achieve their goals, fulfil their potential and participate fully in society, stating that this is the message that thousands of physiotherapists (known in some countries as physical therapists) are sending out on World Physical Therapy Day, a day which provides an opportunity for physical therapists around the world to raise the profile of the profession, and highlight its contribution to global health.
In addition, most of the State Chapters of the NSP organised special lectures to mark the day. Some also conducted free health screening for the members of the public.