Members of the Nepal Physiotherapy Association took to the streets of Kathmandu during World Physical Therapy Day to spread the word about how physiotherapists could help prevent cardiovascular disease.
Members of the Nepal Physiotherapy Association took to the streets of Kathmandu during World Physical Therapy Day to spread the word about how physiotherapists could help prevent cardiovascular disease.

Profession asserts itself in Nepal

The Nepal Physiotherapy Association is reporting major steps forward in the profession since it joined WCPT in 2003. “We have been working to upgrade our profession and lobbying government to create physiotherapy posts,” says Kanchan Sangroula, President of the NPA.

She says that attending WCPT congress at Vancouver in 2007 helped the NPA network with other organisations and find ways of raising the profile of the profession. “In particular, we have been demonstrating how we can prevent cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. At the WCPT Congress and General Meeting in Vancouver we also learned how Nepali physiotherapists could get more involved in community based rehabilitation. There are 75 districts in Nepal, and 55-60 districts still do not have physiotherapy services available.”

“Nepal has followed WCPT guidelines for entry-level physiotherapy and Dhulikhel Medical Institute, which had a certificate in physiotherapy of diploma level, has changed it to a Bachelors of Physiotherapy with four years of education.”

This February, NPA conducted a one-day free physiotherapy camp at Lamgunj, six hours away from Kathmandu. “We treated 92 different cases and we educated people about the benefits of exercise.”

It has also made major inroads on addressing women’s health issues. “There are huge women’s health problems in Nepal, with problems like prolapsed uterus and urinary incontinence,” said Kanchan Sangroula. “So NPA organised first an education programme on these issues for physiotherapists, which was attended by 35 physiotherapists in November, and then a three-day physiotherapy camp for women with these problems, held free of charge this March in Kathmandu.”

Membership of the association has now increased to 220. A national physiotherapy conference will be held in November.