Projects Abroad Physiotherapy volunteer presents at the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week in Manila
The prestigious event, which ran from 17 to 23 July, was held at the College of Allied Rehabilitation Sciences within the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Centre in Manila, Philippines. Many university students, faculty, staff and interns were in attendance.
Kenneth Sotto, the Country Director for Projects Abroad Philippines and the driving force behind the establishment of the Physiotherapy project said the presentation went well, “I think they are impressed with the small steps that we’ve taken. The dean is also thinking about engaging their interns in our project during their summer break.”
Victor, who is from Australia and currently completing his Masters in Physiotherapy, played an integral part in establishing the programme. Not only was he the first volunteer on the project but he also worked with new patients suffering from various impairments, completed weekly house visits in the rural areas of San Remigio, established a database of patients, attended daily meetings with builders and carpenters involved in the construction of the rehabilitation centre and met with local government bodies to discuss the development of the project. “Everyday was a surprise for me, but Projects Abroad was very much on top of everything and helped tackle each obstacle one by one”, said Victor.
Having put so much of his time and effort into the project, a major concern for both Victor and Kenneth, was the sustainability of the project. They wanted to ensure the rehab centre remained open and that new, trained volunteers and staff would keep administering treatment to the children and cater to the needs of the patients.
Thankfully after his first presentation at the college in Bogo, the students were inspired and eager to be a part of this initiative. An agreement was made with the dean and six interns in their 5th year of physiotherapy education were assigned to the program. In order to spend more time with the interns, Victor extended the duration of his project by two weeks and was able to guide them, making sure they understood the purpose of the project, briefing them on each of the patients, and handing over the data he had collected.
This is the aim of Projects Abroad’s Philippines Physiotherapy project: finding the right therapy approach for children with disabilities so they can become mobile in their everyday lives, and eventually integrate into their local community and enhance their overall quality of life.