Despite little awareness about physical therapy, the need for services is great: there are an estimated 500,000 people with disabilities and many more suffer from trauma and chronic pain. Many of the registered therapists practice in remote, hilly areas with little chance for continuing professional education. These therapists quietly serve their isolated communities, but access to a community of professional colleagues would allow them to advance their knowledge and improve the care provided.
With country-wide fiber-optic cables and mobile phones widely used, technological solutions are possible. Assisted by Health Volunteers Overseas, Rwandan therapists are developing a website to build awareness about physical therapy and service availability, and to offer short, professional education online courses to therapists. Computer access is available at clinics so even therapists in more rural settings could obtain their education credits, a requirement to remain licensed.
To improve physical therapy services and develop the profession, continuing education is crucial, a fact recognized by the Rwandan government. Rwanda is developing its online communications system to promote development and overcome barriers posed by mountainous terrain and remote communities. Online communications will provide physical therapists with access to professional development and professional connection, building a community of knowledge and practice, and improving patient care.
Description of HVO's work
Description of the global health workforce crisis