Final year Physiotherapy students at the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine (CoM) have organised a symposium to raise awareness among the public.
Dubbed Physiotherapy Symposium 2017, the event is entirely student-championed and is scheduled to take place in Blantyre on April 26 next year under the theme Breaking the Stereotype.
Secretary of the symposium, Gift Banda, told reporters in Blantyre yesterday that the seminar is aimed at making the public and prospective employers appreciate the significance of physiotherapy.
“Physiotherapy is a new profession in Malawi. A lot of people don’t know who is a physiotherapist. As such, hundreds of them just keep conditions in their homes without knowing that they could be assisted.
“So, we want the public to understand physiotherapy. We want to tell the public that we are here because many people just know one aspect of what a physiotherapist does, which is massage,” she explained.
Banda said the initiative was a testament to the dedication students have in popularising physiotherapy in the country.
As part of preparations, the students have been carrying out fundraising activities to raise K2 million for the event.
Chairperson of the fundraising initiative, Shirah Chavula, said so far they have solicited about K400 000 through conducting movie nights at the college, medical check-ups in various organisations and churches and selling stickers about physiotherapy.
Experience has shown worldwide that the use of physiotherapy, not only as a curative but also as a preventative therapy, can significantly reduce other medical expenses.
CoM started training professionals in the field in 2010, but before that Malawians used to be trained abroad.
Currently, there are less than 100 practising Malawian physiotherapists in the country.