PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department will appoint more women physiotherapists to the district health quarters hospitals in the province to care for the female visitors living with a physical disability, suffering from medical conditions or needing postoperative exercises.
Officials told Dawn that the two-year initiative was executed in 2014 at the cost of Rs60 million under which 20 physiotherapists, including 16 men and four women, were appointed to 20 district headquarters hospitals.
They added that the project’s duration was later extended for two years with a focus on the women’s care.
Initiative taken for women unwilling to be examined by male physios
The officials said the project would cost Rs149 million to give physical therapy services to people prompt recovery of the people through exercise, polio-affected children or with hemorrhage and other disabilities.
They said the department launched physical therapy wards at DHQ hospitals under the ‘Strengthening of Rehabilitation Programme’ under which 16 male and four female physiotherapists were appointed.
The officials said the department recently approved the appointment of 30 more physiotherapists, including 21 women and nine men, to the DHQ hospitals.
“Every DHQ hospital will have the services of one male and one female physiotherapist in view of the increasing number of visitors to OPDs,” an official said.
Dr Mehboobur Rehman, chairman of the board of directors of the Pakistan Physical Therapy Association, who remained part of the project, told Dawn that physical therapy had gained currency in the province with more and more people seeking it.
He said the province had 31 physiotherapy centres in 25 districts, Lady Reading Hospital, Khyber Teaching Hospital and Hayatabad Medical Complex, which received around 150,000 people every year.Dr Rehman said among the visitors were people affected by violence, polio and stroke.
He said the move to extend the project had been taken to facilitate patients, especially women unwilling to be examined by male physiotherapists.
“The project seeks to facilitate the people in rural areas who can’t visit Peshawar-based hospitals. It is also aimed at reducing the quantum of disabilities through the provision of timely services in district hospitals,” he said.Dr Rehman said KP was ahead of other provinces in putting in place the physical therapy services at the DHQ hospital level.
He said the project had been stretched in view of its utility as the number of visitors to physiotherapy wards was on the rise.
The expert said researches had shown that lack of physical therapy services had led to the number of handicapped population and the people often developed serious complications from minor disabilities.
He said to provide the rehabilitation facility on their doorstep and reduce people with a physical disability through non-pharmaceutical intervention of physical therapy and save people from using pain killers and other medicine.
Dr Rehman said under the programme, doctors sent patients to physiotherapy centres at DHQ hospitals and those with pain in joints, paralysis, poliomyelitis and trauma received rehabilitative services.
He added that special children also visited physical therapists in the districts.
“Around 20 per cent of the people suffer from disabilities, which can snowball into major health conditions if left untreated, he said.Citing studies, the expert said the people of remote areas risked permanent disabilities due a lack of physical therapy services.
Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2017