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.
Physiotherapy is a science-based health care profession and takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and wellbeing, which includes the patient’s general lifestyle.
Physiotherapists help people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice as well as maintain health for people of all ages, helping patients to manage pain and prevent disease.
The profession helps to encourage development and facilitate recovery, enabling people to stay in work while helping them to remain independent for as long as possible. Physiotherapists work in a variety of specialisms in health and social care. Additionally, some physiotherapists are involved in education, research and service management (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, London). The Physiotherapy program aims to educate students for the profession of physiotherapy. People in PNG who may benefit from physiotherapy assistance include people 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.
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The department was established within the Faculty of Health Sciences (now Faculty of Medicine nd Heath Sciences) in 2002 with a 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 the nationals had to go overseas for their training and until 2006 there were only two national physiotherapist and volunteers were providing the service to meet the unmet needs in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The education program has upgraded to degree level in 2008 and now, nearly 150 physiotherapists were trained.
Promote Healthy Wellbeing in line with university Core Values through excellence in Teaching and Learning, Research and Community Engagement
To educate upcoming and graduated national physiotherapist with physiotherapy skills, advance techniques, leadership, research, contribute to the communities, exchange of knowledge and application to improve health, prevent disability and encourage movement.
The program aims to train national physiotherapist with a degree in physiotherapy. The structure of the program aimed to meet the national and international framework of physiotherapy. A physiotherapist should be an autonomous by profession, who has the theoretical and practical knowledge and the attitude to assess, treat and advise patients, without regard to their age, race, sex, and sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs. By doing so he/she supports people with disabilities to obtain equal rights and opportunities.
Divine Word University provides a religiously oriented and socially conscious environment. While becoming professionally competent, students are encouraged to examine the ethical aspects of their profession. Bachelor of Physiotherapy emphasizes continuous learning, creativity and skills necessary for problem solving in an environment with limited resources. The program encourages questioning and critical thinking, to enable students and graduates to constructively contribute to health care within multi-disciplinary teams in a socially responsible manner.
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Modilon General Hospital
National Department of Health
James Cook University