2007 Sri Lanka Physical Therapy Enhancement Training Summary
January 1, 2008
Our Real Medicine Team Whole Health Initiative to provide protocol enhancement trainings to physical therapists in Tangalle, Sri Lanka and serve out patient clinics was a tremendous success. The purpose of this initiative was to follow up last year's program at Navajeevana as part of our commitment of ongoing training for physical therapists and assistants in cost effective, progressive treatment protocols such as The Trager® Approach for chronic and Post Traumatic Stress pain, spasticity, and neuromuscular disorders. We also provided clinical sessions for Navajeevana as well as for Real Medicine Foundation's outpatient clinic at Yayawatta Village.
Navajeevana meaning (new life), now in its twentieth year, is the only comprehensive private, non-governmental rehabilitation center in Sri Lanka and funded soley on the donations of others. It was started to give community based rehabilitation for the poorest people in this province. It is the only rehabilitation centre which is providing Physical Therapy, Occupational therapy, Speech & language therapy, Prosthetics & Orthotics, Wheel chair, Audio testing, and community based rehabilitation under one roof. Navajeevana is also conducting a special school for disabled children.
Navajeevana started physical therapy department in early 2000. The present statistics show approximately 2800 patient visits for 2006. The department major source of funding is from various volunteer organizations and other NGOs. There is lack of qualified physical therapists on the island because there are only two year degree programs. Navajeevana, through support from a german NGO, currently has two members of its staff training in India who will be returning in 2010. Until then, in addition to their two physical therapist, they must rely heavily upon the skill of their physical therapy assistants.
This lack of degreed PT's underscores the importance for PT assistants to have access to educational programs such as this Team Whole Health initiative that enhance their skills as a primary care providers without creating vacancies within the department for long periods of time or requiring substantial investment. Further, the skills taught can be easily modified and imparted to lay care givers to empower them to participate in the healing process. Team Whole Health Member Michael Lear established his relationship with Navajeevana's founder, Kumarini Wickramsuriya shortly after the Tsunami and has since, trained 9 members of staff over the past three years as well as treated numerous patients in the clinic.