World Physical Therapy Day Celebrated

In a remarkable global demonstration of professional commitment, at least a third of WCPT’s 101 member organisations organised publicity and events to mark World Physical Therapy Day on 8th September. The WCPT were overwhelmed by the response, “Physical therapists have clearly been putting huge effort into demonstrating what they can do to help their patients, their communities, and the health of whole populations,” said WCPT President Marilyn Moffat. The theme was Movement for Health, this year focusing on cardiovascular disease, obesity and other lifestyle-related disease and activities included poster campaigns, rallies, television interviews, conferences and workshops, magazine and newspaper articles, photographic exhibitions, health check-ups, leaflets, fun-runs, taping competitions and mobile health promotion campaigns.

Here are some of the highlights in brief as reported by the WCPT:

Afghanistan Celebrations on World Physical Therapy Day were extensive this year. In its headquarters in Kabul, the Afghan Association for Physical Therapy presented a series of talks from distinguished speakers including representatives from government ministries. Representatives from all physical therapy institutions in the country were also there. The day was also celebrated in the Handicap International offices in Kabul, and there were other events in AAPT’s Eastern and Western regions, which attracted representatives of various disability organisations.

Australia The Australian Physiotherapy Association produced a “Movement for Health” poster and handout, and congratulated its 12,000 members for contributing to more than a century of essential healthcare provision Down Under and abroad.

Austria The Austrian Physiotherapy Association produced a dedicated Movement for Health page on its website, with a poster and the Movement for Health logo available for download.

Bangladesh The Bangladesh Physiotherapy Association (BPA) achieved blanket television coverage on World Physical Therapy Day.  A national rally organised by the BPA was covered by several channels throughout the day, and Bangladesh Television broadcast a special programme marking the day, including interviews with the President and Secretary General of the BPA.

Botswana The Botswana Physiotherapy Association held a celebratory dinner with guest speakers and scientific presentations, and also an associated course on dry needling.

Canada The Canadian Physiotherapy Association supported WCPT’s call to raise awareness about the vital contribution that physiotherapists make to global health, and encouraged its members to find a few minutes on 8th September to think about the important role each of them plays in the lives of their patients.

China The Physical Therapy Association of the Republic of China (Taiwan) celebrated World Physical Therapy Day for the first time, with a special half-day event based around the “Movement for health” theme. The celebration took place at the School of Physical Therapy, National Taiwan University, and attracted many members of the public and physical therapists.

Czech Republic The Union of Physiotherapists of the Czech Republic held its fourth international congress, which took place in Brno on the 4th and 5th September.

Ecuador The Federacion Ecuatoriana De Fisoterepia (FEF) published a message from WCPT’s South America Region Executive Committee on its website, drawing attention to the impact of physical therapists on the quality of life and health of the population. It also focused on the importance of the profession implementing health policies related to physical activity and movement.

Ethiopia The Ethiopian Physiotherapists Association celebrated World Physical Therapy Day during its annual conference, which took place from 6th to 11th September. T-shirts were made to mark the day, featuring the Movement for Health logo. These were worn during a march by a group of physical therapists.

India A number of institutions across India celebrated World Physical Therapy Day. The Amity Institute of Physiotherapy held a seminar at which distinguished physical therapists presented their views on physical therapists’ scope of practice and their role in cardiovascular disease and obesity. The event generated much press coverage. The Dr MV Shetty College of Physiotherapy organised a workshop in collaboration with the Sports and Fitness Training Federation of India with the theme “Teaching Methodology”.

Ireland The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists issued a patient information notice providing guidance on how to find a qualified chartered physiotherapist.

Italy The Associazione Italiana Fisioterapisti marked the day with several meetings looking at physiotherapists in regional health systems. A photograph exhibition was held in Bologna with the theme: “Physical Therapists: a history spanning 50 years”.

Jamaica The Jamaica Physiotherapy Association organised a week of activities including a church service, a 15 minute radio feature on one of the most popular stations, a booth providing fitness assessments in a Kingston shopping mall, and a “Movement for Health” mini-symposium for healthcare professionals and the general public. The symposium included presentations on exercise after a heart attack, paediatric obesity, fighting middle-aged weight gain, returning to sports after injury, exercise for elderly people, exercise for people confined to wheelchair, and determining exercise intensity.

Kenya A rally of physiotherapists marking World Physical Therapy Day brought the Kenyan capital Nairobi to a standstill. The procession, including representatives of the profession from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan and Germany walked through the streets in a display of pomp and colour, accompanied by the band from the Kenya Administration Police.

Latvia Physiotherapists all around the country provided free consultations in an effort to educate people about the benefits of physiotherapy. The Latvia Physiotherapists’ Association published a poster and brochure highlighting the role of physiotherapy in health improvement, prevention and disease management. They also provided information on how to access a physiotherapist. The association gained wide coverage of the activities by local and regional newspapers and websites.

Malaysia The Malaysian Physiotherapy Association organised events at physiotherapy departments in public and private institutions throughout the country. At Masterskill College of Nursing and Health, there were opportunities for the public to have their body mass index (BMI) checked, a blood donation campaign, and an exhibition about physiotherapy. In all, 96 pints of blood were donated, 364 people had their BMI checked, and 600 people attended the exhibition. An information leaflet was handed out to 3,000 people.

Malta The Malta Association of Physiotherapists launched a Movement for Health awareness campaign in collaboration with the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Unit. The Minister of Social Policy was present at the launch. As part of the campaign the association organised fun walks across the country, published a leaflet promoting walking and gained coverage in The Times of Malta.

Namibia The Namibian Society of Physiotherapy held “Movement for Health” events throughout the week. A formal dinner and dance for 200 people provided dancers with an ideal opportunity to “get moving”. Due to the evening’s huge success, it has been decided that the event will be held again next year. A 5km fun run was held, with a slightly higher turnout than that achieved for 2009. A year-long project was launched, whereby a short informative article will be published in local newspapers every week. A CD with 52 articles was given to two newspapers.

Nepal The Nepal Physiotherapy Association celebrated World Physical Therapy Day with a rally to raise public awareness of the profession and then a workshop on “Challenges and opportunities for physiotherapy in Nepal”. More than 150 physiotherapists took part.

New Zealand The New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists sent out a news release to raise awareness of the day, and provided members with a poster and advertorials to use in local newspapers, newsletters, on websites and in clinics.

Nigeria The Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy (NSP) held a press conference, addressed by the President and Chairman, at the LOC Lagos 2009 conference. It was widely reported in the media. This was followed by health talks given by physiotherapists shown on the TV Lagos channel, covering keeping fit, caring for older people, cardiovascular diseases and spinal cord injuries. The MITV channel also featured NSP in its news coverage.

Philippines The Philippine Physical Therapy Association conducted a campaign on living an active lifestyle. Posters were displayed throughout the university campus encouraging everyone to take the stairs.

Puerto Rico The Associacion Puertorriquena de Fisioterapia celebrated World Physical Therapy Day by organising a free course for their members.

Rwanda The Association of Rwandan Physiotherapy used the whole month of September to sensitise the public to the importance of exercising for better health as a way of preventing lifestyle-related disease. This was partly through talks on national radio and television, during which the public were invited to participate in a “health walk” in Kigali City, to demonstrate and motivate the public on how to exercise. After the walk, all participants gathered for a further demonstration on aerobic exercises and some speeches. The Minister of Sports and Culture attended the health walk, and during his speech indicated his support and recommended that such “action oriented sensitisation” should be done frequently.

Singapore The Singapore Physiotherapy Association celebrated World Physical Therapy Day with a day-long public event including awards, musculoskeletal and ergonomic testing, fitness and back pain consultations, falls assessments, Tai-Chi demonstrations and give-away goodie bags.

Slovenia Every year the Department of Physiotherapy at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ljubljana, organises activities on World Physical Therapy Day. For 2009 a team of physical therapists went to Nanos, a mountain in Slovenia.

Spain The Asociación Española de Fisioterapeutas issued a press release celebrating World Physical Therapy Day using the “Movement for Health” theme, asserting the impact physical therapists may have in combating lifestyle diseases, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Sri Lanka A large number of physiotherapists and physiotherapy students participated in a series of educational workshops. Subjects covered included spinal cord rehabilitation and new approaches to Down’s syndrome. Students also organised a quiz programme.

Switzerland Physioswiss, the Swiss Association of Physiotherapy, celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, and on World Physical Therapy Day its “physio bus” set off on a health promotion tour of the whole of Switzerland until 24th September 2009.

United Kingdom The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy widely publicised World Physical Therapy Day and the “Movement for Health” theme to its members. The CSP runs a similarly titled “Move for Health” campaign. Bridget Hurley, focusing on the child-oriented part of the campaigns, said: “Childhood obesity is a global issue and the CSP recognises physiotherapists have a great impact on it. The Society is working at national and international levels to promote the profession’s role in addressing it.”

United States An innovative experiment in video conferencing marked World Physical Therapy Day in the United States, where the Physical Therapy Department at the University of South Alabama celebrated World Physical Therapy Day with two international lectures transmitted from overseas.

Uruguay The Asociacion de Fisioterapeutas del Uruguay celebrated World Physical Therapy Day with the launch of its new website at