Inspiring occupational therapists in Uganda with in-person clinical skills training on spinal cord injury

A recent hybrid learning programme for occupational therapists has provided knowledge and practical skills that will now be used to better support patients with spinal cord injury in rehabilitation practices across Uganda. 

The recent 2-day in-person ReLAB-HS and the Uganda Association of Occupational Therapists (UAOT) collaborative clinical skills training workshop held on 2–3 May 2024 in Uganda brought together 19 occupational therapists to support their skills and knowledge in treating patients with a spinal cord injury (SCI). 

Hosted by Herbert Omoding and Angela Patterson from Physiopedia, participants were introduced to the clinical skills toolkit of the International Rehabilitation Education and Training Toolkit (IRETT) to support their education and training activities. The sessions then focused on occupational therapy assessment and treatment of patients with SCI, including the provision of assistive technology.

A real highlight of the workshop was the opportunity to visit a spinal ward for hands-on experience in observing and assessing SCI patients. Having this practical element to the training enabled participants to contextualise the information they had learnt during online study via Physiopedia Plus courses, coursework and mentoring sessions, and was a highly valued session in putting skills into practice.

Thanks to their commitment and engagement throughout this hybrid training these occupational therapists came away with an improved understanding of evaluation and interventions for SCI patients. They will use the knowledge and skills learned to better serve their patients in rehabilitation practices across Uganda.

This was the first time these participants had been able to access this kind of hybrid SCI training including an in-person practical training session, and following its success the UAOT now plan to hold these sessions regularly for members, supported by online learning through Physiopedia Plus.

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.