Digital Transformation is Key To Building Workforce Capacity in Ukraine

As part of Rehab-HS Physiopedia is contributing to workforce transformation through the use of digital technology.

In Ukraine there isn’t a standardised approach to training physiotherapists with over reliance on outdated knowledge and skills. This means that clinicians aren’t able to provide the level of care required to serve their local populations.

Over the past 5 years Momentum Wheels for Humanity have been working with the Ukrainian Association of Physiotherapy (UAPT) to professionalise physiotherapy and build workforce capacity. Specifically they are working with three universities to develop a clinical placement programme as part of a Masters level programme to train new physiotherapists to international standards. 

During development of the programme a number of barriers to develop workforce capacity emerged. One of the most significant barriers was the lack of access to international standard easily accessible educational content for students and clinicians. 

To overcome this barrier, in April 2021 all members of the Ukraine Association of Physical Therapy were given free full access to the Physioplus elearning platform. This enabled them to easily access the evidence-based professional development required to provide the skills they needed. The availability to Physioplus for their members will continue.

“I still can’t believe that Ukraine will have such a great opportunity for further development of the profession with support of Physiopedia.”  Lesya Kalandyak, Ukrainian Association of Physical Therapy

It’s unknown how many physiotherapists currently work in Ukraine but there are 127 physiotherapists registered with the UAPT and since free access to Physioplus has been given to their members 25 have accessed the platform with a total of 18 course completions.

Next Steps

To better understand how Physioplus can meet the needs of Ukrainian physiotherapists, and increase these course competitions, we worked with UAPT to survey their members. When asked how often they used Physioplus 17% said they used Physioplus constantly, 28% said periodically, 11% rarely and 44% had not used it yet.

Members were then asked if the platform being in English was a barrier to use. Interestingly, 33% said that it was not an obstacle, 39% said it was and 28% said it was but only in part.

It is clear that language is a barrier to Ukranian physiotherapists using Physioplus which is why we are working on translating our materials into Ukranian. That way we can continue to help the Ukrainian physiotherapists increase their workforce capacity through access to educational content fit for their purpose.

“I wanted to say thank you very much for your work! For the necessary knowledge! You are the best in physiotherapy …” –Member of Ukrainian Association of Physical Therapy

Without access to digital solutions overcoming the challenges of building physiotherapy workforce capacity in Ukraine would have been significantly more challenging and likely to have not been a success. Although it is early days in building capacity in Ukraine the foundations exist and Physiopedia will continue to help.

This work is supported by the USAID funded Learning Acting Building for Rehabilitation in Health Systems (ReLAB-HS) project and is not possible without the generous and committed contribution of the Leahy War Victims fund.

ReLAB-HS is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is implemented under cooperative agreement number 7200AA20CA00033. The consortium is managed by prime recipient, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.