By Felicia Imohimi
Abuja – The Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy on Friday in Abuja urged government to integrate physiotherapy in Primary Healthcare Service (PHS) delivery to prevent diseases and rehabilitate patients with disabilities.
Dr Rufai Ahmad, President of the society made the call at a stakeholder’ policy dialogue organised by the society with the theme; “Role of Physiotherapy in Primary Health Care toward achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC)’’.
Ahmad said physiotherapists played a key role in diseases prevention and cure as well as rehabilitation of patients.
Specifically, he said that physiotherapists were crucial in preventing arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, stroke among other non communicable diseases.
He stressed that the non inclusion of physiotherapy in the primary healthcare delivery was hampering the goal of achieving UHC.
“Physiotherapy has been proven to be effective in management of Arthritis, diabetes, stroke, traumatic brain injury and a range of respiratory conditions.
“The practitioners offer those affected with these diseases with tools and techniques to acquire and maintain an optimal level of function and pain free living.
“They restore, maintain and promote not only optimal function, but optimal wellness and fitness and optimal quality of life as it relate to movement and health.
“Their services are therefore needed most at the primary healthcare delivery level,’’ he said.
Ahmad said that a lot of indigent, aged and vulnerable Nigerians at the rural areas were finding it difficult to access the services of physiotherapist because of the non inclusion in the PHC.
He said such patients, due to financial constraints, also found it difficult to access specialist care at the secondary and tertiary health care levels where such services were available.
“It is imperative that efforts are made to address these gaps.
“If there is, at least, one physiotherapist in every PHC across the six geopolitical zones of the country then it will be easier for Nigerians to get the desired services.
Ahmad assured his society’s commitment to work in harmony with other health professionals and all relevant stakeholders in the provision of better services to Nigerians.
Speaking in the same vein, a Public Health Physician, Dr Felix Obi, said that the services of physiotherapists to the elderly and persons with disabilities would be better rendered at the PHC level. (NAN)
By Felicia Imohimi