Continuous Professional Development Course for Physiotherapists in Malawi - Common Funcional Shoulder Lesions: an Integrated Approach for Assessment and Treatment

Project location: MALAWI
Project start date: December 2015 - Project end date: May 2016
Project number: 2015-035
Beneficiary: Associacio Thanzi Per A La Promocio De La Salut


The evolution of the health-care sector and the training of physiotherapists for the first time in Malawi since 2010, has created a need for resourceful and new approaches to improving patient outcomes, through evidence-based managements of musculosketetal conditions, among others.
Given the limited opportunities for on-going professional development for qualified physiotherapists, coupled with limited number of experienced lecturers that are training physiotherapists in this country, it is vital to invest in continuing professional development.
Innovative methods of assessment of patients would improve the overall patient care that would result in improved overall efficiency and effectiveness of treatment experiences and patient outcomes. The Physiotherapy Association (PAM) is a paid-up member of the World Confederation of Physical Therapy (WCPT), which advocates that continuing professional development should form an integral part of all the member countries' services to their individual members.

The proposed one month long course work and practical sessions on the wards would be a starting point, especially for the newly qualified physiotherapists and interns who have trained under very difficult circumstances with constrained resources. The suggested course will address the following main areas of physiotherapy practice: "Common functional shoulder lesions: An integrated approach of assessment and treatment." The students will learn how to effectively assess the cause of the lesion by looking at the patient in a more holistic, intergrated way and apply this same way of thinking to their treatment. The influence of postural imbalance and back problems on shoulder function will be the focus of the course.
The visiting lecturer Mr Van Biesen is currently working in Spain as a self-employed physiotherapist and osteopath D.O. ( registered by the College of Physiotherapists of Catalunya under the number 10419 and Member of the Register of Osteopaths of Spain under the number 443) and is keen to make a difference in Malawi where there is a great need for training of practicing and newly qualified physiotherapists.
Approximately 25 to 30 students will be involved in the course. They will get a certificate of attendance at the end of the course.
The project comprises 2 parts.
The first one is the course. The duration of the course will be 8 to 10 days, depending on the progression. Due to the limited resources, their knowledge is quite basic. During the course the physiotherapists will learn how to correctly diagnose the cause of the shoulder lesion in order to be able to give a personalized and effective treatment to the patient. It will be a mainly practical course: 25% theory - 75% practice. The information will be offered to the students in the form of slights, photos and videos.
The second part will be the supervision of the interns in the Kamuzu Central Hospital treating real patients. The goal is to improve their clinical reasoning in order to optimize the effectiveness of the treatment. We will take each patient to the process of anamnesis, physical examination, functional testing, editing treatment strategy and treatment itself.

The Nando Peretti Foundation has awarded a grant for this project. After the course the students should be able to look at patients problems ( in this case shoulder lesions ) in a more global way, not only focussing on the symptoms, but being able to get to the root of the problem and knowing how to treat it.
Regarding the clinical reasoning training, the students should be able to make an effective differential diagnosis in order to improve the efficiency of the treatment and overall patient outcomes.

Associacio Thanzi Per A La Promocio De La Salut

Girona (Spain)

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