By Muhammad Auwal
The Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy (NSP) has called on the Federal Government to stem the tide of brain drain in Physiotherapy through employment, special incentives and better practice facilities.
President of NSP, Dr Rufai Ahmad made the appeal at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja to mark the 60th anniversary of the society.
Ahmad said due to the migration, it had led to poor physiotherapists to populace ratio in the face of non-communicable diseases upsurge.
He also said employment of more physiotherapists into government services would help in increasing the physiotherapists-populace ratio, and in turn help in reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases.
“Despite brain drain, the profession is being plaqued by unemployment, many government hospitals, clinics, medical centres are without physiotherapists; and in instances where existing, grossly under-sourced with physiotherapists.
“This in turn has denied Nigerians access to physiotherapy services. The cost of physiotherapy services is majorly borne by the consumers through fee for service unlike in other climes where the fees are taken up more through health insurance scheme,” Ahmad said.
He said the number of sessions physiotherapy consumers under NHIS are entitled to was also grossly inadequate.
Ahmad said the services of physiotherapists still remained under-utilised in spite of the efforts of the NSP in raising awareness.
“Some of the challenges include poor funding of research, postgraduate training and continuing professional development in physiotherapy.
“Rehabilitation is about integration of people with injuries or diseases back to their communities. Rehabilitation is best carried out at the primary health level.
“Inadequate use of clinical practice guidelines was also a challenge,” he said.
Ahmad said the cost of physiotherapy services should be borne by the NHIS, and adequate sessions of physiotherapy sessions should be approved.
He therefore urged government to fund physiotherapy clinical postgraduate trainings and research.
“Physiotherapists should be involved in all levels of healthcare especially at the primary level.
“Development of clinical practice guidelines to ensure best clinical services, establishment of centres of excellence in Physiotherapy specialisations in Nigeria will reverse health tourism,” Ahmad said.