In Lagos Physiotherapist laments low recognition, poor remuneration for profession

He said that the recognition, remuneration and conditions of service for physiotherapists were still poor, compared with that of other health professionals.

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Mimi Okumagba, Ken Curwen (Founder of MyHeartLog) and Dale Naylor of the Physiotherapy Network at the 2010 MyHeartLog summer seminar series play

Mimi Okumagba, Ken Curwen (Founder of MyHeartLog) and Dale Naylor of the Physiotherapy Network at the 2010 MyHeartLog summer seminar series

(MyHeartLog)
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A Physiotherapist, Professor Rufus Adedoyin, on Sunday said physiotherapists were still unrecognised in the medical profession, in spite of the major role they played in the overall wellbeing of individuals.

Adedoyin, the Chairman, Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy Cardiopulmonary Specialty Group, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He said that the recognition, remuneration and conditions of service for physiotherapists were still poor, compared with that of other health professionals.

"Physiotherapists play a major role in cardiovascular health promotion, prevention of heart-related and other chronic diseases.

"The roles of physiotherapy in acute care is yet to be recognised by doctors, hence many patients are not routinely referred.

"These challenges can be due to the fact that awareness about the profession is still very low, both in the medical field and to the general public.

"Hence, the need for more awareness creation, so that more people will know the importance of the profession in their overall wellbeing," the physiotherapist said.

The professor said aside from critical care conditions, Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) like heart and respiratory diseases were the leading causes of mortality worldwide.

He said that concerted efforts were directed to reduce the prevalence of these chronic diseases in advanced nations.

Adedoyin noted that, however, prevention of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and other NCDs were rarely on the public health agenda in Africa, adding that, rather, priority had been on infectious diseases.

"The World Health Organization’s African Regional Office documented in 2010 that chronic NCDs are on the increase and already represent a significant burden on public health services.

"The epidemiologic transition to chronic disease is said to be happening at a much faster rate in sub-Saharan Africa than ever witnessed in other regions of the world.

Nigeria, being the most populous country in Africa with over 160 million people, has the highest prevalence of chronic diseases,’’ he said.

The physiotherapist said Nigeria did not have the resources to combat NCDs in terms of sophisticated equipment and experts, therefore, prevention was critical.

He added that despite the prominent position of physical inactivity in contributing to ill-health, the level of investment in sustaining actions to reduce level of inactivity was still low.

"Physical activity is the key determinant of energy expenditure, and is thus fundamental to energy balance and weight control.

"Physical activity is reported to reduce the risk of CVDs, breast and colon cancers and diabetes, and has substantial benefits for many conditions, not only associated with obesity.

"Physiotherapists play a major role in cardiovascular health promotion, prevention of heart diseases, weight reduction and maintenance through exercise testing, prescription and supervision," Adedoyin said.

He noted that so many people did not participate in exercise due to limitations.

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According to him, some of the limitations, which include roads lacking walk ways, heavy traffic, poor road network and crimes, make exercise participation difficult and hazardous sometimes.

"Consequently, well equipped fitness centres are necessary as this can provide the necessary equipment for both aerobic and strength exercise training.

"These can improve cardiovascular health for those at risk of developing CVDs.

"It can also serve as secondary prevention to people who are already with the risk factors,’’ the professor added.

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