Physiotherapists key in Covid-19 treatment

Director of Physiotherapy Health and Fitness Malawi, Dr George Chimatiro, has said physiotherapists have a very key role in as far as treatment of Covid-19 is concerned.

Dr Chimatiro was speaking to Nyasa Times on Wednesday, 8th September, the World Physiotherapy Day.

World Physiotherapy Day was historically founded in the year 1951. It was however agreed globally in 1996 that it should be commemorated on 8th September.

The aim of the day is to connect physiotherapists across the globe in responding to different pressing needs globally. For example, Covid-19 is a pressing need and physiotherapists across the globe agreed that the theme for this year be Long Covid and role of rehabilitation.

Physiotherapy, being one of the components or cadres within rehabilitation, is important in dealing with Long Covid.

According to Dr Chimatiro, Long Covid refers to prolonged problems that a person encounters from the third month after suffering from Covid-19. Symptoms of Long Covid include continuous fatigue, continuous breathlessness, general body pains and joint pains. These symptoms affect a persons’ activities of daily leaving which include walking around, going to the office, visiting places and relations.

“Research continuously show that physiotherapists are key professionals that can address problems of Long Covid. They do this utilising their skills that they learn in universities.

“They have the requirements that allow them to access a person, identify their problems and then work on the problems and eventually promote functioning of an individual,” explained Dr Chimatiro.

Malawian physiotherapists had presentations on the day via webinar to discuss on how best to treat persons suffering from Long Covid.

“We are doing a lot to raise awareness to the general public not only about Covid but also physiotherapy,” added Dr Chimatiro.

Dr Chimatiro further explained that there is a shortage of physiotherapists in the country because the first graduates in physiotherapists came out of College of Medicine in 2014 as before 2010 there was no college that was training physiotherapists in Malawi.

“We are still grappling in terms of labour force to serve the Malawi growing population,” he said.

The challenge that Malawi has at the moment is to reach out to rural masses with physiotherapy as most physiotherapy services are offered in urban areas.

There are also instances when some health care workers do not know when to refer a patient for physiotherapy.

The World Physiotherapy Day marks the unity and solidarity of the global physiotherapy community. It is an opportunity to recognise the work that physiotherapists do for their patients and community.

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