Can you imagine having to take a relative with stroke or cerebral palsy to and from the hospital three times a week for physiotherapy treatment? It becomes even more tedious and stressful when the carers have to transport patients to health facilities far from their homes.
If the above scenario is not enough to postulate how herculean the task is, let me add this, to take these patients to the hospital for physiotherapy means you would have to board a taxi if you do not have a car each time there is a hospital appointment, and this could be between two to three times in a week. Plus, carers would have to ask for permission at work whenever an appointment for physiotherapy is due.
Jessie Akua Afari, a young physiotherapist and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of JessDan Mobile Physiotherapy Services has begun an initiative that is making physiotherapy treatment easily accessible in Ghana.
“Basically bringing physiotherapy to your home makes it easier,” Jessie Akua Afari told africanpostonline.comin an interview.
Mrs. Afari has been working as a physiotherapist since 2014 after stints with some major government hospitals and private ones as well and sought to make a difference in the physiotherapy industry. She simply wanted to make physiotherapy services easily accessible for families and care givers and so in January this year she started providing physiotherapy services for people in their homes.
Carers or patients only have to call and make arrangements for physiotherapy treatments.
“If anyone requires the service, they call and depending on where they are located I arrange for a physiotherapist to go there, asses, diagnose and draw up a treatment plan,” she explained.
“I then arrange the number of sessions for a week and treatment starts,” she added. The response has been good even without advertisement, Jessie noted. There is also an option for clients at a ward of a private healthcare facility to call for the service. With client base surging, she has put together a team of four who provides services when she is already booked.
“Physiotherapy can be very stressful for family and carers and I become very disappointed when I cannot attend to every client who call on me,” she lamented.
She plans to organise health talks to educate the public and she is also working towards acquiring a mobile health van with full time therapists to enhance delivery.
Challenges in the physiotherapy industry in Ghana
According to Mrs. Afari, physiotherapy is now being accepted by Ghanaians and this comes with some challenges.
First, the government she pointed out is not employing a lot of physiotherapists and some government healthcare facilities lack the required equipment to make work easier.
Additionally, private health care facilities are taking advantage of physiotherapists by paying them poorly.
She advised that carers need to be involved with physiotherapy treatment like proper positioning among others so they can take care of patients when professional physiotherapists are unavailable.
When asked about whether her service is the first of its kind in Ghana, she said, “health practioners have been practicing homecare for a long time including physiotherapy. But from what I know this is the first time anyone is making it this way.”