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Only one physiotherapist in Oti Region

BY: Jemima Achivors
Staphanie Lamptey, the only physiotherapist serving the Oti Region
Staphanie Lamptey, the only physiotherapist serving the Oti Region

Only one physiotherapist is serving the Oti Region’s over 700,000 people out of a total of 300 therapists currently practicing in the country.

The sole Psychotherapist, Stephanie Lamptey, works at the physiotherapy unit of the Worawora Government Hospital.

The 71-year-old regional hospital has also been the only health facility in the Oti Region providing essential physiotherapy care and social service in the past years.

Housed in a little cubicle adjacent to two other units of the hospital, the physiotherapy unit has since 2019 managed 1,042 cases, with 399 cases managed so far just in the first quarter of 2022.

Cases recorded in the first quarter of 2022 ranged from medical, surgical, paediatrics, geriatrics, burns, musco skeletal and neurological cases.

A visit by the Daily Graphic to the unit revealed the size of the cubicle provided no privacy for patients, while some essential equipment was unavailable.

Aided by only two technical support staff, Ms Lamptey said she was overwhelmed by the situation, although she was aware of the constant healthcare needs of the patients, most of whom were farmers.

The physiotherapy field is a branch of allied health sciences that assesses physical dysfunction and pain, restores, maintains and improves such functional deficits.

The Deputy Minister of Health, Mahama Asei Seini, at the national celebration of World Physiotherapy Day in the Oti Region last Thursday, urged newly qualified physiotherapy graduates to accept posting to district hospitals to augment the number of staff in the region.

The ratio

There is low penetration of physiotherapy services, especially in non-urban communities.

Globally, the recommended physiotherapist to patient ratio is 1:500. Unfortunately, in Ghana, it hovers around 1:100,000.

The President of the Ghana Physiotherapy Association, Dr Paul Amankonah, on the occasion of the annual commemoration described the current situation at the hospital as unfortunate and disappointing.

He, therefore, appealed to the Ministry of Health to expedite financial clearance processes for graduates of the profession who would want to serve their motherland to do so.

He said it was also critical for the ministry and other relevant stakeholders to equip already existing facilities and perhaps undertake at least a “one district, one physiotherapy facility” approach.

Dr Amankonah said these efforts would improve arthritis management and prevention, as well as offer a more accessible and comprehensive physiotherapy care for Ghanaians.

Centre of excellence

The Administrator of the Worawora Government Hospital, Kingsley Effah, said the current vision of the hospital was to become the centre of excellence in healthcare delivery for a healthy population.

He said in recent years, management of the hospital had worked hard to introduce specialised services including dental, physiotherapy, accident and emergency unit, mother and baby unit, as well as advanced diagnostics services like x-ray, ECG, CTG and others.

Despite the progress, he stated that the hospital had woefully inadequate critical staff, including medical offices, although management had lobbied over the years to attract additional medical officers.

“Out of the five, two are in school and the remaining three are at post taking care of the various healthcare needs of the population of about 195,000, serving four adjoining districts, Krachi East, Kadjebi and Biakoye,” he said.

Mr Effah appealed to the government and the private sector to assist in equipping the hospital’s physiotherapy unit, which he said was in dire need of a Hydrocollator, Treadmill, Static bike, Wobble boards, Shortwave diathermy, Microwave thermotherapy; Ultrasound-TENS Combo unit, Tilt bed, Lumbar traction and Paraffin wax.

Chiefs ready

Meanwhile, traditional leaders in the region have pledged their readiness to contribute to making the region, alluring to health workers to accept postings there.

The Nkosouhene of the Worawora Traditional Area, Nana Barima Owusu –Afari, told the Daily Graphic that already, some 200 acres of land had been mapped out for the construction of bungalows for heath persons who will be posted to the area.

The Biakoye District Chief Executive (DCE) and mother to Ms Lamptey, Milicent Kabuki Carboo, said: “Considering the important role physiotherapy plays in the well-being of mankind, I made a personal commitment to ensure my daughter became one.”

She urged Ghanaians to celebrate practitioners in the profession for their roles in helping patients manage pain, balance, mobility and motor functions.

World Physiotherapy day marks the unity and solidarity of the global physiotherapy community. It is an opportunity to recognise the work that physiotherapists do for their patients and community.

To also mark the day, screening services were offered by a group of physiotherapists in the region for people in the community.