Physios heading to Africa

 

Pain is the focus of this issue of InMotion magazine and it brings views from an impressive range of experts in pain management and includes a history of the APA Pain group.

My pain expertise is as a patient who has experienced healthcare in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. My unscientific conclusion is that physiotherapists are often the key to understanding how pain affects patients holistically.

From my patient experience, the understanding of pain beyond the physical is one of the unique aspects of the profession. Another type of pain that physiotherapists excel in is answering the needs of those who do not have access to treatment.

‘What started as a casual question over our dinner table one night about whether the APA might be able to help find volunteer physiotherapists, quickly gained momentum.’

Recently, my husband, Bernard Macleod, put out a call through the APA for physiotherapists willing to volunteer at a centre in rural Zimbabwe that caters for 600 disabled and vulnerable children. Bernard has a charity that funds the centre, where many of the children are orphans, are HIV positive, and have a range of disabilities caused by in vitro exposure to the HIV virus and the lack of access to healthcare.

What started as a casual question over our dinner table one night about whether the APA might be able to help find volunteer physiotherapists, quickly gained momentum. The idea was enthusiastically endorsed by APA President Phil Calvert and actioned by APA General Manager, Member Engagement Anja Nikolic with a call out to the profession to volunteer their time and expertise in one of the most deprived areas of Africa.

Within two months he will be close to finalising a team of physiotherapists who will make the trip with him to Zimbabwe later this year to treat the children and train their carers. The number of physiotherapists willing to give up their time and self-fund their travel to help these children in what are confronting conditions is nothing short of remarkable.

Bernard has been truly astonished by the response from so many physiotherapists of all ages and levels across the country. Speaking to physiotherapist volunteers, he has been struck by the incredible generosity and selflessness of these healthcare professionals.

Thank you to all of those who have volunteered for opening your hearts to the pain of these children and watch this space for pictures and details of the trip in future APA publications. To find out more about the centre on the charity website, visit onenightforoneyear.org.

Louise is one of the two non-physiotherapist directors on the APA Board.

 

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