Masanga Physiotherapy is a volunteer-run, independent part of Masanga DK. We are working dedicatedly towards creating an internationally approved physiotherapy education in Sierra Leone. Our goal is to offer a programme in physiotherapy (BSc level) at the Tonkolili District College of Health Sciences (TDCoHS), located at Masanga Hospital. We aim to launch this four years programme in 2017. Education of local physiotherapists is extremely important. For this reason, we are now looking for qualified teachers as well as for funding of the project.
After surgery or illness, many patients in Sierra Leone are confined to their hospital beds for several weeks because of the lack of physiotherapy. Patients and relatives have to pay daily rates to the hospital, but without physiotherapy, the hospitalization is often prolonged, causing excessive physical strain to the patients and placing heavy economic burdens on their families.
Before the civil war in Sierra Leone (1991–2002), physiotherapy was a natural part of the treatment at the then ‘Masanga Leprosy Hospital’, and ever since its reopening as a general hospital in 2006, re-establishment of physical therapy has been a strong wish.
In 2013, Marie Børresen volunteered as a physiotherapist at Masanga Hospital for six months. When she arrived, the reality that met her was a hospital full of bedridden patients suffering from major bedsores, contractures, and prolonged hospital admissions. After a leg amputation, hospitalization could easily last a whole year due to poor wound healing and re-amputations. The hospital culture expected patients to stay in bed until their hoped for recovery, God willing.
During her six months stay, Marie re-established physical therapy at Masanga Hospital and managed to train four local employees in basic anatomy, physiology, and physiotherapy, emphasizing how important it is for a quick recovery to engage in physical activity and try to get out of the hospital bed. This is common knowledge in our part of the world, and also at Masanga it proved a very simple means to enhance the quality of life in many patients.
When Marie left the hospital in August 2013, four physio aides had acquired the necessary skills to continue with basic physiotherapy treatment. This work, along with a conscious effort to improve wound care, resulted in the shortening of post-surgical admissions by several months.
The training of the four physio aides continued under guidance of two new volunteer physiotherapists. One of these, Jonas Ipsen, managed to get in touch with the Sierra Leonean Association of Rehabilitation Therapists (SLART). SLART showed a great desire to start up a physiotherapy educational programme of international standards, but lacked the necessary resources to carry out the project, by themselves.
To this day, an educational programme in physiotherapy has never existed in Sierra Leone. In this very moment, there are only four educated physiotherapists, one occupational therapist, and an unknown, but probably rather small number of locally educated physiotherapy assistants at hand to cover the needs of the 6 million people living in the country.
We have several important partners who have shown great interest in and support to establishing the educational programme:
- Tonkolili College of Health Sciences and Technology (TDCoHS)
- Connaught Hospital, Sierra Leone
- Jonathan Quartey, President of Ghana Physiotherapy Association and Vice President of the Africa Region of WCPT
- VIA University College, Aarhus, Denmark (VIA UC)
- Kai Kennedy, Director of Clinical Education at Mary Baldwin College, Virginia, USA.
- Sierra Leonean Association of Rehabilitation Therapists (SLART)
- Fagforeningen for danske fysioterapeuter
Volunteer physio teacher?
Since there are only four physiotherapists in the entire country of Sierra Leone, the project is highly dependent on qualified foreign teachers coming to Masanga. The duration of the deployment period will depend on both the actual course structure and your qualifications.
Masanga Physiotherapy is an entirely volunteer-based project. Covering the living costs of teachers during deployment therefore exclusively depends on donations received. We strive to cover room and board for all deployed teachers.
Requirements for deployment:
- You have a minimum of three years’ experience. Preferably you have teaching experience.
- You are prepared to teach by a curriculum and you must prepare your own materials in English.
- You allow Masanga Physiotherapy to use your teaching materials for future purposes.
- You want to teach in a culture different from your own and you are creative in your approach to the students and in your teaching methods.
- You want to make a difference.
- It is an advantage if you have previously taught or travelled in developing countries.
Did this catch your interest? Contact Marie Børresen for more information: email@example.com.
Support the project:
The project is based on the deployment of volunteers, qualified teachers and financial support from sponsors.
- Marie Børresen. The first physiotherapist at Masanga Hospital and founder of the project. Responsible for PR/communication, volunteer teachers, and contact with collaborators in Sierra Leone and the currently deployed physiotherapist. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hayley Netley. British physiotherapist. Latest deployed to Masanga: email@example.com
- Johanna Gibbs. British physiotherapist. Deployed with Marie Børresen in 2013. Responsible for books to Masanga: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sara Thordal. Member of the Masanga DK Board. Responsible for fundraising. E-mail: email@example.com
- Lærke Winther. Previuosly deployed physiotherapist (Januar – June 2016). Responsible for developing the curriculum. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Henriette Lajgaard Christensen. Ph.d.-student. Responsible for communication: email@example.com
- Marie Riisgaard. physiotherapist. Latest deployed to Masanga: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Martin Bach Henriksen. Physiotherapist: email@example.com
General inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org