All around the world, physical therapists used World PT Day, and the weeks around it, as an opportunity to draw attention to the contribution of physical therapists to national and international health. Here are reports of some of the activities.
To celebrate World Physical Therapy Day, physiotherapists gathered at the Pashupatinath Geriatric Centre – the only national home for older people run by the Nepal Government. This was to demonstrate that physiotherapists specialise in many areas, and geriatrics is one branch where they can do much to improve the quality of life for older people.
Physiotherapists from the centre distributed orthopaedic aids and appliances like walkers, canes, crutches and food – which provide very important support for older people. The Nepal Physiotherapy Association plans to organise a weekly free physiotherapy camp to improve the movement and wellbeing of older people.
British Virgin Islands
World Physical Therapy Day was celebrated for the first time in the British Virgin Islands. Activities included an open house with physiotherapists and a chance to win prizes (such as a Blackberry phone and IPod) if they answered questions about the profession correctly. Events were publicised on local television, online news and print newspaper and were well supported by the community.
The newly formed St Lucia Physiotherapy Association recognised World Physical Therapy Day by working with weekend newspapers on the island to produce several articles about the profession. On the same day the articles were published, the association partnered the Ministry of Health in a wellness exhibition, where healthy lifestyle activities were demonstrated. The association introduced daily exercises related to diabetic care, foot care, and healthy ageing.
In keeping with the association’s continued efforts to educate the population about physiotherapy, it organised a booth at the annual Guyana and Trinidad Insurance company fun run and walk, which was held in early October. Physiotherapists talked about the effect of exercise on the body and the benefits of regular exercise.
The programme of activities organised by the Bangladesh Physiotherapy Association in September included a public discussion about physiotherapy professional development involving several distinguished guests. It published a colourful poster containing the World Physical Therapy Day logo and slogan. This was distributed in different specialised and district hospitals, private clinics, and urban and rural settings to increase awareness among the public and doctors.
Bangladesh Television, the government’s national channel, aired a special documentary about the importance of physiotherapy to honour the day. There was an open disscussion programme for the All Health Professionals Group on 8th September.
The Fiji Physiotherapy Association began the celebrations with a conference on “Movement for Health and Diabetes” on 4th and 5th September. The conference was opened by the Permanent Secretary for Health in Fiji, Dr Salanieta Saketa, and the guest speaker was Margot Skinner, the WCPT Executive Committee member for Asia Western Pacific.
The conference was attended by 50 participants, of whom 37 were physiotherapists from all over Fiji. It ended with fun and networking, and interviews featured in media coverage. During the week of 6th to 10th September, each physiotherapy centre in Fiji hosted its own community outreach programmes as well as in-house celebrations.
To celebrate World Physical Therapy Day in Mauritius, the Rehabilitation and Health Society of the University of Mauritius in collaboration with the Association of Physiotherapists organised an event that attracted around 70 physiotherapists, physiotherapy students, physicians and other guests.
According to Dr Basant Rai, from the Mauritius Ministry of Social Security: “Mauritians lack physical activities. Times have changed and people are overweight or malnourished and do not engage in any physical activity.” The event highlighted the increasing number of patients who suffer from stroke and the fact that 23 per cent of the population suffers from diabetes.
The Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy carried out an extensive publicity and awareness campaign throughout the week, demonstrating the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and structured exercise programmes. It took its campaign to the doorsteps of the public, providing professional advice on why it is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle and how to do it. The society conducted basic screening exercise programmes at the National Sports Medicine Centre, after an awareness walk from Lagos University Teaching Hospital. Information flyers containing information from the WCPT World PT Day toolkit were handed to the public.
The Association of Physiotherapists of Serbia celebrated World Physical Therapy Day 2010 on the main squares of Serbia’s three biggest towns – Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis. They held a Movement for Health performance including children and elder adults. Physiotherapists demonstrated exercises for children and gave advice to adults at an information desk. This is the first time that the Serbian association has held an event of this kind. All the national television and radio stations, and several newspapers, provided coverage of World Physical Therapy Day.
The Namibian Society of Physiotherapy again decided to have a week of activities, rather than one day, with activities including a formal dance and three-course dinner, radio talks by various physiotherapists and a fun run/walk. It also organised a 2km wheelchair race. The society now plans to promote the profession during the year by publishing short articles in the daily newspaper and in educational magazines.
Several institutions nationwide initiated celebrations, particularly university physical therapy departments and student associations. They included:
- a fun run and blood donation activities at Mariano Marcos State University College of Health Sciences, Batac City;
- a free physical therapy clinic and seminar on ergonomics at Angeles University Foundation College of Allied Medical Professions, Angeles City;
- physical fitness activity at University of Santo Tomas College of Rehabilitation Sciences, Manila;
- a symposium on rehabilitation and games at University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center College of Physical Therapy, Manila;
- a marathon dance exercise, seminar on motor relearning, and variety shows at Emilio Aguinaldo College School of Physical, Occupational and Respiratory Therapy, Manila;
- a free therapy clinic and a seminar on sports injuries and rehabilitation at Dee Hwa Liong College Foundation Mabalacat;
- an evidence-based practice conference at the University of the Philippines College of Allied Medical Professions, Manila.
Students and professors of physical therapy celebrated World Physical Therapy Day. There were events at the Federal University of Paraná. Students and staff from the physical therapy course at UFPR Litoral performed workshops about pilates, shantala, manual therapies and other areas to spread awareness in the local community about the work of physical therapists and the different areas of the profession.
The United States
The New York Physical Therapy Association focused on obesity, designing a two-week walking challenge where participants tracked the steps they took each weekday for two weeks, using a tracking sheet and pedometer. Over 100 physical therapists and students participated, with four members of the New York State Assembly also taking part.
The reward for most steps was either a charitable donation or, for physical therapists, registration to the state conference. The winner was Carlos Lopez of the Greater New York district, who walked 198,066 steps within the ten days. He asked for a charitable donation to be made in his name to the Wounded Warrior Project, having been a member of the armed services for eight years. New York State Assembly member Michael Benedetto also completed the requirements of the contest.
"It was a great event to promote physical therapy in general, and specifically the physical therapist's role in combating obesity" said Nathaniel Mosher, Chair of the New York Physical Therapy Association Eastern District.