WCPT News Update – November 2013

How do we turn nice words about physical therapy into real, global recognition for the profession and its role in preventing illness and disability and rehabilitating people to maximise participation in society? We all believe that we know the value of physical therapy, but when there is discussion of health human resource planning at events such as the Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in Brazil earlier this month, there is little reference to physical therapists or, in fact, any other rehabilitation profession. It becomes clear how many people including other health professionals and health service planners have only limited knowledge of who we are and the impact that we can make. If the profession’s true value as a part of the health workforce is to be appreciated, we need to be able to tell policy makers, opinion formers and other professions how many of us there are, where we work, what we do, and especially what impact we make at a global level. We cannot wait for governments to do this for us. For the past two years, WCPT has been collecting data from its member organisations to profile the profession globally. The picture is beginning to form, but it is far from complete. All WCPT member organisations can help by participating in the data collection and sharing information demonstrating the contribution that physical therapists make.

Prescribing rights in Australia

The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) this month welcomed the approval of the non-medical health professional prescribing pathway.  Following in the footsteps of the UK, where physical therapists were awarded independent prescribing rights earlier this year, Australia has now started the process for approving physical therapists to prescribe independently.

New WHO ICF guide

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published the first practical manual on how to use the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). It will be an important guide for physical therapists around the world, whether applying the ICF in practice, research or administration.

Diabetes atlas

The latest edition of the Diabetes Atlas was published by the International Federation of Diabetes (IFD) to mark World Diabetes Day on 14th November.  The publication highlights the rise in diabetes over the last few years with 382 million people in the world now estimated to have diabetes. The overwhelming burden of the disease continues to be shouldered by low- and middle-income countries, where four out of five people with diabetes are living.  The book, along with regional factsheets, is available to download from the IDF website at www.idf.org/diabetesatlas.

UN report on the global road safety crisis

As part of a new report on the global road safety crisis, the Secretary General of the United Nations highlights global progress to improve the safety of roads and vehicles – for example, legislation on speeding, drink-driving, motorcycle helmets, seat-belts and child restraints. However, he has called on all member states to strengthen and improve pre-hospital, trauma and rehabilitation care for people involved in road accidents.

WHO: wheelchair training package

Following the release of the Wheelchair Service Training Package – Basic Level in July 2012, WHO has developed the Wheelchair Service Training Package – Intermediate Level, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  The second part of the WHO wheelchair service training package series focuses on addressing the needs of people who have severe difficulties in walking and moving around and poor postural control. Special attention is given to the provision of appropriate wheelchairs for children who have poor postural control and are unable to sit upright independently.


WCPT region, subgroup and international events

5th International Conference of Physiotherapy in Psychiatry and Mental Health: organised by the WCPT subgroup, the International Organization of Physical Therapists in Mental Health (IOPTMH), the conference will be held 5th – 7th February 2014 in Utrecht, Netherlands.  The purpose of the conference is to stimulate a dialogue between colleagues, to promote the exchange of experiences and new ideas, to start a global network around a scientific and evidence-based practice in this field and to make an inventory of the possibilities for physiotherapy in mental health. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 15th December.

10th WCPT Africa Region Congress: the Zambia Society of Physiotherapy will be hosting this Africa regional congress in Lusaka, Zambia on 19th – 25th May 2014. The theme of the congress is: ‘From advocacy to action against non-communicable diseases’.

All Together Better Health (ATBH) conference: the deadline for abstract submission is 6th December. ATBH is a leading global interprofessional practice and education conference, which brings together providers, health system executives, educators, policymakers, and healthcare industry leaders to advance interprofessionalism locally, regionally and worldwide. The 2014 conference will take place in Pittsburgh, USA, 6th – 8th June 2014.

International Conference on Violence in the Health Sector: the call for abstracts and registration is now open for this world conference dedicated to work related aggression and violence within the health and social services sector. The conference will take place in Miami, USA, 22nd – 24th October 2014.

World Health Professions Regulation Conference 2014: providing new perspectives and debate about the challenges facing health professional regulation, this conference is to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 17th and 18th May. Registration is now open and the full programme and details of speakers are available to view on the conference website.