Heads up first..........for easiness sake I am going to start calling physiotherapy / physical therapy PT that way it doesn't matter which country you are from when reading this!!
When I first came to Haiti in 2008 there was no PT at all here, Gavin used to joke I was the best PT in the north of Haiti mainly because I was the only one!!In 2010 there were a lot more visiting PT's because of the earthquake and it seems since then there is a lot more awareness of what PT is and how it can help people.
Haiti now has a Haitian Physical Therapy Association however from what I can find there are only around 35 members serving a population of about 12 million people. Most of these have people have trained outside of Haiti and have come back to work here. Now Haitian's are able to study physiotherapy in their own country for the first time in a University in Leogane. Since I have been in Haiti I have been trying to talk to other people who are involved in PT in and around Cap Haitian. Just down the road from us is a physiotherapy technician school where students can go and study for 2 years to become a PT tech. They will have 40 students graduate this year.
It seems there is a lot more PT going on since 2010, however most of those who are working are PT techs. I am currently working on starting a PT network in the North of Haiti and the idea behind this is to improve communications between PT's, to create a referral system, to increase knowledge and skills through education sessions and to make best use of equipment which is sent down to Haiti. For me this will involve meeting with other PT's and clinic's in the area. I hope to eventually set up a meeting and invite anyone who is working or qualified as a PT / PT tech to discuss what exactly this will look like in Haiti.
In Bethesda we hope to build a purpose built room physiotherapy department. Over the next two years I plan to work with someone, probably be a local PT technician who I can train up and can take over the PT service at Bethesda. Dr Rodney feels it is important for Bethesda to offer this service long term. However we do need some extra funding for the building and if you would like to donate to this please get in touch with me.
|The old PT room, just a bit of space with a few beds which is now used as an emergency room|
For any physio's reading this who have any ideas or want to be involved I would love some input as to what you think is essential for a physio 'department'. I will be pretty much treating anything and everything joint pain, back pain, strokes, CP, amputees, fractures etc. Or if you think there would be a possibility of setting up some sort of partnership between your place of work and Bethesda then get in touch, I would love to explore those possibilities.