PHYSICAL THERAPY IN PAKISTAN
Physiotherapy or Physical therapy is an independent health care profession concerned with identifying & maximizing quality of life & movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment & rehabilitation specialty which has physical means of treating patients suffering from different diseases. Though the field is as old as human is; physical therapy was practiced in 460B.C & its history as a profession dates back to 1894 by the establishment of “Chartered Society of Physiotherapy” in England and got Institutionalized by 1913 in New Zealand & then by USA in 1914 for the first time. It is considered within the realm of Conventional Medicine. It includes 24 specialties (According to American Physiotherapy Society-APTA) some major areas are Musculoskeletal, Neuro, Chest, Cardiopulmonary, Sports, Pediatric Physiotherapy, Acupressure, Acupuncture Electrocardiography, Vestibular/Balance, Electrotherapy, Hydrotherapy and Women’s Health etc.
The school of Physiotherapy was established in 1956 by the Federal Government, Ministry of Health & Social Welfare with the assistance of World Health Organization (WHO) at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center premises. Initially, the school offered a 2 years Diploma course with the minimum entrance qualification of matriculation (science group). In 1961 2 year program was upgraded to a 3 years Diploma. Later on, the program was raised to BSc Physiotherapy Degree (3 years) in 1963, affiliated with the University of Karachi, and pertinent changes were added & made in the syllabus according to the need. The International faculties of Physiotherapy had upgraded their syllabi. In order to match those standards; in 1999, BSc Physiotherapy course was upgraded to 4 years BS Physiotherapy Degree Course. Recently following the vision 2020 of APTA”, the 4 years BSPT Program was upgraded to 5 years DPT (Doctor of
Physiotherapy) Program in 2008 to meet the International standard. The “Vision 2020” states that “By 2020, physical therapy will be provided by
physical therapists who are doctors of physiotherapy recognized by consumers & other health-care professionals as the practitioners of choice to whom consumers have direct access for the diagnosis of, intervention for, & prevention of impairments, functional limitations, & disabilities related to movement, function & health. DPT, started by USA is followed by Australia, Pakistan (2008-09) & others.
According to a survey conducted by world confederation physical therapy in Pakistan, 2017. There are total 15000 physical therapists working in government and private sectors whereas only 1,270 are the member of WCPT. Physical therapists are recruited in Government hospitals i.e. at district and Tehsil level as Grade 17 professionals. In each Government hospital maximally 2 to 3 physical therapist are appointed who have to run the entire physical therapy department and have to offer their services to admitted patients in the hospital along with their regular out door patients. One of the biggest dilemma is that physical therapists lack acquisition of basic health care allowances that are being offered to other medical professionals, as a result of this injustice and yet not legislated physiotherapy council, average salary packages and seats of physiotherapists in government and federal departments are totally insufficient to fulfill the requirements of modern era and upgrade the dignity of this noble profession. Ministry of health needs to take serious steps in order to improvise job opportunities for physical therapists as they are the most efficient professionals of modern era and their services are needed in almost every serious medical condition.
In addition to government jobs, physiotherapists are running their own private setups where they are capable of doing independent practice and can make a handsome amount of money as well but it’s really difficult for young professionals to make their own setup as a lot of capital is required initially and that’s not possible for fresh graduates but once a setup has been established it can earn massive respect in the society. In private hospitals physiotherapists are least paid professionals in the start later on their salaries get better but still its insufficient for the services they are giving, all this injustice is due to absence of a governing body that can take serious steps for the betterment of this profession, apart from clinical side physiotherapists can pursue their career in academic side where they can works as demonstrators, lecturers and Professors of DPT program in medical universities.
According to a survey in 2017, Physiotherapy was the 7th most earning profession in the world. At present, 37 Institutions are serving in the field of Physiotherapy in Pakistan offering DPT program and few universities in Islamabad and Lahore are offering post-graduation courses in physical therapy but unfortunately these institutes aren’t opened in remote and underdeveloped areas that serves as the major setback for this profession and lack of awareness regarding the benefits of physical therapy among the people of these areas. It’s not possible for every student to move to other city either due to family reservations or due to excessive financial burden. Government needs to pay strong attention regarding this dilemma of our society in order to meet international standards.
Physical therapy is an emerging field that will attain its professional peak within 5 to 10 years as the world is moving again from modern to eastern medicine, Rehabilitation isn’t about giving therapies or administering medicines it’s all about team work and co-operative efforts of all medical professionals, This type of professional and selfless attitude is needed at our work places in order to provide best possible care to our patients. Physical therapy services and its education have seen boom of development during the last decade compared to the last 50 years. However, currently the specialty requires proactive regulatory authority to control its educational curriculum and development as well as safeguard its interests.
PHYSICAL THERAPY IN INTERNATIONAL WORLD
PHYSIOTHERAPY is regarded as one of the most lucrative and white-collar professions in western countries with average salaries of $4,500 in the US and $5,000 a month in Australia. Relieving pain by magical skills and rehabilitation of patients are among hallmarks of physical therapy.
Every sports team around the world has hired professional physiotherapists who are doing a great job. The importance of physiotherapy has been recognized all over the world. Professionals in the field of physical therapy can do post-graduation in cardiovascular, neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, sports, pediatric orthopedic physical therapy Many physiotherapists work within hospitals at out-patient departments, intensive care units, critical care units and intensive tertiary care departments where round-the-clock chest physiotherapy can be vital for keeping the unconscious patient breathing. So, this profession has a great importance in saving a life. But, sadly, the significance of this profession in Pakistan is yet to be recognized. There is a lack of awareness among people who do not know the worth of treatment without taking harmful medicines and by natural means through physiotherapy.
As per the survey conducted by WCPT in 2017, almost 1,587,607 are practicing in entire world with massive respect and dignity, Physiotherapists in west and middle-east are working in hospitals, rehabilitation, tertiary care centers and sports clubs. In contrast to clinical setups physiotherapists are flourishing well at academic side and excelling in renowned medical universities as research officers and lecturers/professors etc.
When it comes to pursue career or post-graduation in foreign countries Pakistani students have the least awareness due to lack of knowledge being given in this regard. It seems like an impossible thing to many students though it is not. National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) is the known licensing exam to practice as a physiotherapist in any state of America. Its preparatory guidelines are available in PDF forms on internet and by clearing this exam one is eligible to work in united-states. United Kingdom and Germany has different criterion for acquisition of license, in United Kingdom physiotherapists get registered with Health and care professions council by submitting online application at HCPC portal through this link http://www.hcpc-uk.org/apply/. In order to work in Germany you need to apply for recognition of your Physiotherapy Degree at the public authority. You will find the relevant addresses of authorities of administrative districts in Germany in the database Anabin (Anerkennung und Bewertung ausländischer Bildungsnachweise) www.anabin.kmk.org. In addition to this some hospitals accept NPTE as well. In Canada PCE i.e. physiotherapy competency exam is the available licensing exam. It has two components written and clinical, after clearing it you can independently practice in Canada as a physiotherapist. In all the middle-eastern countries Ministry of health i.e. MOH exam makes you eligible to practice in a legal manner. In rest of the other countries NPTE is considered as an accountable licensing exam.
Multiple universities in Australia, Canada, America, Germany and Italy are offering MS and PHD programs for DPT graduates on full and partial scholarships, their entire detail is available on the sites of universities. Moreover fresh graduates can assist foreign professors as research internees and research assistants as well. For working as a research internee one has to search research supervisors in the university and field of their interest, email them a perfectly composed research proposal and attach viable testimonials along for their reassurance. There are numerous opportunities provided that we take them into accountability and stay positive for our upcoming endeavors.
Every other day brings us a new opportunity, all we need is to stay focused and work hard as it never goes unrewarded. Success is always the reward of patience and untiring efforts.