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 2018. 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.
Masanga Physiotherapy’s mission and vision
The mission of Masanga Physiotherapy is to start a Bachelor degree education in physiotherapy at Tonkolili District College of Health Sciences and Technology (TDCoHS), based at Masanga Hospital. The goal is to enrol 30 physiotherapy students annually at TDCoHS. The education will take four years in total and will consist of evidence -and theoretically based lectures as well as practical clinical training.
We focus on sustainability and independency of the program, which is why it aims to be self-financed through the students’ tuition fees. Initially we will apply for experienced, qualified international teachers to come to Masanga District College for teaching purposes until the graduates are able to teach the course themselves.
The introduction of a training program in physiotherapy at tertiary level will be of great contribution towards the local government’s’ strategic plan presented in the Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine policy. Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation and Handicap International made this plan in 2010. It will target the major issues of social exclusion and unequal access to rehabilitation for people with disabilities. It will provide quality healthcare professionals who will endeavour to provide the people with disabilities the best possible opportunity for full inclusion in society and highest level of independence and quality of life. This is aligned with The UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
The Masanga Physiotherapy project is a collaborative effort involving a strong group of local and international collaborators from all over the world.
- Tonkolili College of Health Sciences and Technology (TDCoHS)
- Ismaila Kebbie, physiotherapist, future leader of the physiotherapy programme at TDCoHS
- Joseph Edem-Hotah, Dean at 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)
- Karen Frederiksen, PhD, Assistant Dean and Head of international affairs, VIA University College, Aarhus, Denmark
- Kai Kennedy, Director of Clinical Education at Mary Baldwin College, Virginia, USA.
- Jesse Banguah, physiotherapist at Connaught Hospital, Freetown
- Sierra Leonean Association of Rehabilitation Therapists (SLART)
- Associaton of Danish Physiotherapists
- Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone
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 us 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.
Masanga Physiotherapy project group
- Marie Børresen, physiotherapist, previously deployed to Masanga, Head of project, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lærke Winther, physiotherapist, previously deployed to Masanga, International coordinator, E-mail: email@example.com
- Sara Thordal Jensen, Cand. Soc. and nurse, Board member of Masanga DK, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Henriette Lajgaard Christensen, MSc, Meeting coordinator, E-mail: email@example.com
- Martin Bach Henriksen, physiotherapist, PR and visual communications, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Christine Leonhard Birk Sørensen, physiotherapist student, financial affairs, E-mail: email@example.com
- Johanna Gibbs, physiotherapist, previously deployed to Masanga, UK member, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
General inquiries: email@example.com