As we are in the mist of the rainiest month of the year it also reminds us that we are more than half way through 2018. Some remarkable efforts has been carried out these past month both by the team on ground and internationally.
This year’s primary focus has been to develop our curriculum to ensure it is nationally applicable to its local setting and at the same time reached international standards of high quality of content with a focus on globally modern learning outcomes. It is paramount that the physiotherapist that will emerge from this curriculum has the strongest possible starting point when they graduate and become Sierra Leones first nationally trained physiotherapists. With them, our aim is that physiotherapy will be accessible to all Sierra Leoneans and the structure of the health care system as we know it today will change.
A series of workshop was held with SLPA as the strongest contributor. The culmination of this was the validation workshop in April. We were delighted to have Karen Frederiksen the Vice Dean at VIA University College Aahus in Denmark participating alongside our Head of Project Marie Borresen. Karen has a vast experience in physiotherapy training and educational quality assurance both in Denmark and abroad. She was very impressed by the project and once more confirmed her commitment to continuously work closely with us and send guest lectures from Denmark. Currently the team in Denmark is working on developing lucrative package deals for these international visits.
At the workshop key stakeholders participated and the curriculum was acknowledged and signed by all participants. Now it has been submitted to Sierra Leone University curriculum committee for approval. Alongside this the affiliation with Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, COMAHS is at its final stage. We are pleased about the strong link that has been created and look forward to be working even more closely with them. We thank the acting Dean Dr. Williams and his entire team for their commitment. By having this affiliation we ensure continuous quality assurance of the program, ongoing lecturer supervision and that the students will graduate with a nationally acknowledged certificate.
While the academic team has been putting all their efforts into these crucial administrative preparations, our pre course students have spent the spring doing job shadowing at the rehabilitation centers and departments. This has been a tremendous eye opener for them and they are now more motivated that ever to embark into this field that is so new and foreign to most of them. The feedback from the clinical supervisors has been very positive. The students have shown professionalism and curiosity. In turn, the supervisors have shown great commitment to teach and pass on their knowledge.
Great changes have also taken place in Masanga. Since the Ebola outbreak the physiotherapy department at the hospital has been on a hold. But at the end of April Annette, a physiotherapist with a broad experience from Denmark, arrived and over six weeks she brought back life and energy to the department. Our 3 physio aids that was trained in 2013 have received some additional on the job training and received new blue uniforms so they are easily recognized in the hospital. Every day they receive referrals and treat outpatients in the department as well as taking part in the ward rounds and do bed side training and wound care support. It is joy to see this essential part of patient care being brought pack as a central part of Masanga Hospital. Furthermore at network with the hospitals in Magburaka and Makeni has been established which will ensure continues learning and knowledge sharing.
Lately we had the pleasure of this year’s second visit by Mr. Peter Bo Jorgensen, the founder of the program. Essential board meetings were held and most importantly we had a very positive meeting with the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Wurie. He stated that he and his ministry would be supporting efforts made towards establishment of tertiary health education and therefore expressed great satisfaction about our physiotherapy program and promised to give us the needed support.
As we are get close to the opening in October, the final projects are falling into place. The construction of the two staff apartments has been completed, the budget has been fine-tuned, the annual semester plan and the timetable have been prepared and lectures appointed. Next week the job interview for our Head of Department will take place and we have some very promising candidates. Furthermore also an admin assistant, a new Finance officer and a Registrar will be appointed at the college.
The team in Denmark has some very exiting ideas for new ways of fundraising and partnerships in the scope so stay tuned for more on this. All that can be disclosed for now is that it involves some leaves and creative hands. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!
I will end this letter by proudly inviting you to the Grand Opening Ceremony of Sierra Leones first Bachelor degree in Physiotherapy at Tonkolili District College of Health Sciences in Masanga in October this year. (Date TBA)
Hope to see you there!
Nina Marie Snap Nissen