Nigeria hosts international conference on rehabilitation of PLWD

Physical therapist (40s) helping patient (60s) through gait training.

An international conference on optimising rehabilitation services for people living with disabilities, PLWD, started in Lagos on Thursday.

The two-day conference was organised by the Medical Rehabilitation Therapists Registration, Board of Nigeria, MRTB, according to The News Agency of Nigeria reports.

Mrs Akanle Olufunke, MRTB Registrar, told newsmen at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja venue that the conference of medical rehabilitation professionals was the first to be organised in Africa.

She said that the World Health Organisation ,WHO, Global Disability Action Plan 2014-2021 categorised disability as a global public health and human rights issue.

“This is mainly because of the barriers PLWD encounter in accessing health and related services, and they usually have worse health outcomes than people without disability.
“The sole purpose of this conference is to optimise rehabilitation services in Nigeria and its communities through the Primary Health Care Initiatives, ” she said.

Akanle said that people living with disabilities required close monitoring and frequent consultation and visitation.

“People living with any of disability or congenital conditions require close monitoring, frequent consultations and visitations as part of rehabilitation procedure.

“There is, however, an array of challenges that hinder the punctuality, availability, accessibility and affordability of the patient to the needed health services, which sometimes complicate their conditions.

“This conference seeks to establish a multi-disciplinary relationship with all the medical rehabilitation professionals in Nigeria, Sub-Saharan Africa and across the globe to alleviate these difficulties.

She said this will enhance exchange of knowledge, and to push for the establishment of a one-stop rehabilitation centers in the six geopolitical zones, and community-based rehabilitation centers.

She urged the Federal Ministry of Health to consider the establishment of national rehabilitation centers across the country to further improve accessibility by more people living with disabilities.

According to Akanle, MRTB is a body with vested interest in solving rehabilitation challenges for people living with disabilities.

Newsmen reports MRTB was established by decree 38 of 1988 to regulate and control the training and practice of seven professionals in the health sector.
The professionals are physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, chiropractics, osteopathic medicine, audiology, prosthetics and orthotics.