The Goa Medical College and Hospital in Bambolim is to establish a postgraduate course in physiotherapy, responding to a reported rising demand for the practice in India.
A memorandum of understanding will be signed between the College and the Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences University, based in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra.
“Physiotherapy is beneficial to those who have suffered a stroke, patients with spinal cord injuries and also in orthopaedic treatment,” said Dr Rahul Kunkulol, coordinator of the Directorate of Research of the Pravara Institute. “It aids in faster recovery. Even paraplegic people have reaped benefits of physiotherapy sessions.”
At present, some twenty seats in undergraduate degrees are offered in physiotherapy by the Goa Medical College. The announcement of postgraduate courses in the specialty carries the potential to enhance the physiotherapy workforce in India. This is a beneficial step at a time when the incidence of conditions which may require physiotherapy-based interventions such as stroke are increasing.
More than 30,000 physiotherapists are members of the Indian Association of Physiotherapists (IAP). The IAP notes the benefits of physiotherapy to include “examination, treatment, advice and instructions to any person preparatory to or for the purpose of or in connection with movement dysfunction, bodily malfunction, physical disorder, disability, healing and pain from trauma and disease, physical and mental conditions using physical agents including exercise, mobilisation, manipulation, mechanical and electrotherapy, activity and devices or diagnosis, treatment and prevention.”
As a 2017 paper notes, “physiotherapy has a pivotal position in community rehabilitation in India. However, published research for the same is lacking. While physiotherapy interventions have been designed to target chronic health conditions in the community, emphasis on preventive care is lacking.”
The gaps in the system can be addressed by endeavours such as that being undertaken by the Goa Medical College and Pravara Institute, which could potentially lay the groundwork for similar initiatives in other states and at the national level.