From The Collaboratory
The Bridging Therapy Project seeks to do an evaluative study on the effectiveness of the physical therapy rehabilitation program of the Center for the Advancement of the Handicapped in Mahadaga, Burkina Faso. In addition to this research study, the BTP has the long term goals of creating a curriculum including a training DVD and techniques manual; enabling the expansion of current rural PT programs or the commencement of a rehabilitation program to a health clinic. Furthermore, this project will seek to create an educational and inspirational DVD for families of disabled individuals. This project will also create a web based interactive resource, intentioned to be a link between physical therapists, practicing rehabilitation therapists and students, all seeking to provide the best therapeutic care around the world, especially in resource deprived areas. Lastly, this project will seek to compile a resource that will enable health clinics to start a physical therapy program; this resource will include a database for tracking, goal sheets for therapists to use, and other necessary structural resources. Through these objectives, we hope to use the tangible resources of knowledge and education to enable others to model the healing power of Christ through the hands-on work of physical therapy. Our prayer is that through this project, we may enable our brothers and sisters so that together, we can share the hope of Christ in communities of disabled and able-bodied people.
In traveling to rural communities in Mali, major disparities in health care were observed. For almost all locals, health care accessibility was limited, and especially for disabled individuals, health care was either unavailable, insufficient or unable to be obtained. Furthermore, the emphasis on physical capabilities being the measurement of the worth of a person and how that effected the lives of disabled persons was observed to be a large problem. People with disabilities in sub-Saharan West African communities are often neglected, abused, and left to fend for themselves since physical therapy and other common treatments are neither available to them, nor known about by friends and relatives. Since functionality of the body is necessary for survival and value to community members, the community sees no benefits to investing in the social, emotional or mental capabilities of these individuals. With the loss of both the functionality of their bodies and the support of their friends and families, disabled persons often have no way of leaving the physical confines of their house or seeking treatment. Consequently, their conditions tend to worsen; these individuals often develop low senses of self-worth and other complications that could be avoided, lessened, or even alleviated by physical therapy and self-care education.
There are many barriers to getting physical therapy for disabled persons in sub-Saharan West Africa. One of these barriers is the simple lack of accessibility to programs and physical therapists – clinics are often only available in capital cities, their numbers are few, and they requires financial resources to utilize them. More programs are difficult to create because of the lack of trained physical therapists, the insufficient amount of financial resources and the shortage of time being dedicated to efforts with less immediate results. Another barrier is the lack of knowledge that physical therapy is an effective and viable method of improving the physical abilities of disabled peoples. In a culture where the idea of exercise is not the norm, the concept that doing repetitive motions will better an individuals’ wellbeing is not understood and rehabilitation clinics efforts are often not fully supported. Therefore, there is a rising need for accessibility to physical therapy, and education about the benefits and effectiveness of such a program, to lead to the empowerment and physical improvement of disabled individuals.
- Create a training manual that includes physiology lessons, disease profiles and therapy techniques in English and French.
- Create a training DVD to assist with the curriculum of the manual.
- Create an inspirational and educational DVD for parents, for use by health and rehabilitation clinics to promote the welfare of disabled children.
- Cortney Steele
- Dakotah Bosworth
- Michael Song
- Justin Sharp
- Kaitlyn King
- Jodie Haak
For more information about this project, please contact:
- Stephanie Miller