Department of Rehabilitation Sciences

Promote Healthy Wellbeing in line with university Core Values through excellence in Teaching and Learning, Research and Community Engagement.

To educate upcoming and national physiotherapist graduates with physiotherapy skills, advance techniques, leadership, research, contribute to the communities, exchange of knowledge and application to improve health, prevent disability and encourage movement.

What is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy provides services to individuals and populations to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability throughout the lifespan. This includes providing services in circumstances where movement and function are threatened by ageing, injury, diseases, disorders, conditions or environmental factors. It is also concerned with identifying and maximizing quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention, habilitation and rehabilitation. This encompasses physical, psychological, emotional, and social wellbeing. Physiotherapy involves the interaction between the physiotherapist, patients/clients, other health professionals, families, care givers and communities in a process where movement potential is assessed and goals are agreed upon, using knowledge and skills unique to physiotherapists (World Confederation of Physical Therapist, see Description PT – WCPT for full description).

Why Physiotherapy training in Papua New Guinea?
Physiotherapy in PNG is to prevent, manage and reduce the magnitude of disability. The predisposing factors that stipulated the need for physiotherapy training are natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunami, conditions such as Pott’s, meningitis, cerebrovascular accidents, tuberculosis, malaria, road traffic accidents, fall, domestic violence and burns which results in various physical impairments and disabilities (Ramalingam, K., Karthikeyan, P., and Akiro, 2011).

The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations (UN) have estimated prevalence of disability in developing countries as between 10% and 25%. People with disability suffer adverse effects and poor quality of life. Furthermore, 80% of the world’s disabled people live in remote rural areas in developing countries. Poverty has been recognized as both the cause and the effect of disability. Hence, Divine Word University in co-operation with Callan Services for Disabled Persons and Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), CBM, CordAid, National Department of Health developed a physiotherapy training program.

{tab Program Overview}
The Department of Physiotherapy was established within the Faculty of Health Sciences in 2002 beginning with the Diploma in Physiotherapy program. Initially the program was designed with bi-annual intake and focused especially on rural rehabilitation. The first cohort graduated in 2006. Since then the department has established a national virtuous reputation for its quality and excellence through teaching, learning and research. Prior to the establishment of the program nationals had to go overseas for their training and until 2006 there were only two national physiotherapists and volunteers providing the kind of service for the unmet needs in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The Physiotherapy program aims to educate students for the profession of physiotherapy. People in PNG who may benefit from physiotherapy assistance include those with amputations, brain damage, spinal cord injury, Cerebral Palsy, clubfeet, Spinabifida, poliomyelitis, leprosy, burns, nerve or tendon damage, also who have joint pains, back and neck problems or sports injuries.

Program Structure

The Physiotherapy program requires four-years of full-time study leading to the award of the Bachelor of Physiotherapy. The program has a balance of theory and practical work. The four-year study also includes orientation at Modilon General Hospital, Madang, to ensure that students have the aptitude for the profession of physiotherapy and extended periods of placements in hospitals, rehabilitation center and village settings for practical application.

The Bachelor of Physiotherapy consists of two phases:
Phase 1 is predominantly theoretical, with emphasis on basic knowledge and skills. The theory will be brought to the students through lectures and the more practical 'learning through problem solving' method.

Phase 2 is focused on practical experience, advance skills and active research. The practical experience consists of placements in training hospitals and Community Based Rehabilitation. Essential units must be passed to graduate. Prerequisite units must be passed before proceeding to the next unit in the sequence.

Entry Requirements

School leavers must have gained a minimum grade of A in English, Mathematics and Sciences (preferably Biology or Chemistry) at Grade 12.

Non-school leavers such as Physiotherapy aides, nurses and Health Extension Officers must have:

• bridging certificate with an associate certificate in rehabilitation (physiotherapy aides if applicable)

• minimum of upper passes in  English, Mathematics and Science at Grade 12

• at least two (2) years of prior work experience in rehabilitation

• recommendation from their supervising Physiotherapist.

• A pass in Diploma in Physiotherapy for Bachelor transitory program

In addition, all applicants will be required to write a supervised English essay, to explain why they would like to do the Physiotherapy Program.

Physiotherapy Research & Rehabilitation Center

DWU Physiotherapy Research and Rehabilitation Center was established in 2010 with a grant approval from CordAid, The Netherlands and annexed to the Department of Physiotherapy. The Rehabilitation Center caters the opportunity for the undergraduate final year students to gain hands on clinical experiences under the supervision of qualified physiotherapists. The clinics at the center were designed to offer services to the university students, staffs and the general public.

“Enabling a healthy environment and physical wellbeing through quality research and rehabilitation in a holistic approach.” 

Services Offered
Our center offers complete assessment and treatment for Neck/Back Pain, Sacral Dysfunction, Shoulder pain, Shoulder impingement, Arthritis, Post traumatic injuries, Post-surgical management, Post fracture, Sports injuries, Tennis elbow, Golfers Elbow, Sprains and Strains, Tendinitis, repetitive strain or overuse injuries, Women’s Health, Hemiplegia, Respiratory conditions, Cerebral Palsy, Clubfoot and other conditions and injuries.

The center also provides Occupational Therapy consultation, Acupuncture, Relaxation Therapy, Yoga Therapy and Fitness.

Rehabilitation Center Physiotherapist with a Patient
Year 4 appling ultrasonic therapy under supervision Year 4 Students Recording Patient information

Facilities Available
Physiotherapy clinic is fully equipped with electrotherapy and exercise therapy equipment to cater best available physiotherapy management in the country.

Electrotherapy-Combination unit Hand Exercise Units
 Hand Rehabilitation  Hot Pack
Static Cycle Traction Unit
Manipulation Plinth Walking Aids

Clinical Hours
The Center will be open Monday to Friday morning 8 – 10 am.

The fee structure depends upon the assessment and treatment as prescribed. Eligible university staffs can avail the services through the medical allowances provided by the university. Please contact physiotherapy staff member for the treatment package.


Self Referral Form

Click here to download a Self- Referral Form.


Clinic logoContact Details

The Executive Officer to the Dean of FMHS
Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences
Phone: (+675) 422 2937 Ext: 770
Fax: (+675) 422 2812
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The Registrar
Phone: (+675) 422 2937 Ext: 837
Fax: (+675) 422 2812
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