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SAARC Conference

SAARC Conference

SAARC Conference 2014 Best Practices in Rehabilitation Therapy
December 10-12 December: Mobility India, Bengaluru

Global Scenario: About 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability, of whom 2-4% experience significant difficulties in functioning. Empirical evidence suggests that 80% of the world’s disabled live in developing countries with poor access to health and rehab services, which leads to their getting excluded and unable to exercise their human rights. Most of the estimated one billion people with disabilities around the world lack access to appropriate medical care and rehabilitation services. Lack of services creates a barrier to full inclusion and participation in all aspects of life.

Some 0.5% of this population needs rehabilitation services (including mobility devices). It is estimated that there is only 1 trained therapist for over 25,000 disabled populations in India, a country with over 60 million disabled. Official disability provisions have mainly remained limited to medical rehabilitation. There is a need to develop the capacities of a range of trained health professionals, especially rehabilitation professionals and for capacity building of organisations to meet the need. There is little emphasis on upgrading knowledge and skills, especially in rehab therapy.  

Almost all SAARC countries share common problems of large populations, difficult economies, poverty, inadequate access to healthcare, and internal/external conflicts; which affect the life of common people, more so for PWDs.

Mobility India (MI) established in Bangalore as a registered Society, in 1994 promotes inclusive development work by providing education and training programmes in the areas of assistive technology, including prosthetics, orthotics and wheelchairs, rehabilitation therapy, community based rehabilitation, and accessibility. MI provides services related to rehabilitation and assistive technology to facilitate better quality of life for people with disabilities, especially those who are poor and disadvantaged.

One of the key objectives of MI is training personnel in Rehabilitation Therapy. MI has been over the years working with policy makers, healthcare institutions, civil society organizations, and academia and rehabilitation therapy practitioners to improve human capacities and service delivery of rehabilitation therapy. Over 70% of MI’s trainees for its prosthetics & orthotics training and rehabilitation therapy course come from the SAARC Region. MI has provided training or field exposure to different levels in P&O, physiotherapists, doctors, CBR and administrative personnel (both government and NGO) from the region. 

Mobility India is organising the SAARC Conference on “Towards an Inclusive and Enabling Future” – Best Practices in Rehabilitation Therapy, at its Rehabilitation Research and Training Centre in Bengaluru from 10 -12 December 2014.

The proposed Conference is an initiative to bring together Physiotherapist, Occupational therapists, Therapy Assistants, Prosthetists and Orthotists, Medical practitioners, CBR professionals and Policy makers from within India and the SAARC region (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.)  The aim is to broaden the collective knowledge base and provide cross-learning opportunities to the participants, and build collaborative approaches and solutions to some of the most significant challenges, networks and resources in complimenting each other.

It would generate significant and workable ideas and reflections on how to improve rehabilitation therapy and latest trends and interventions (best practice) to the participants and their respective institutions, leading to capacity for better quality of service provision, and promote their equal participation in the society – in particular the poor and marginalized to achieve inclusion of a broad spectrum of people with disabilities.

The Conference is expected to bring in experts from various disciplines who will share their experiences of best practices in Rehabilitation Therapy. The Conference presentations will be on Government legislations, Access to welfare and entitlements for People with Disabilities; Rehabilitation therapy service provision (including mechanisms, technology) community-based care, Social sensitization and   concerns of PWDs, innovation and technology & Case studies; and Need for Human resource and capacity development in rehabilitation therapy. The presentations will provide cross-learning opportunities on how to achieve inclusion of people with disabilities.  Besides, it will bring together key stakeholders, GOs/NGOs working in the field, healthcare professionals, rehabilitation institutions, inspirational icons, together on a common platform.  This Conference would be an important step towards creating an Inclusive and Enabling Future. More than 70 delegates are expected to attend the comprehensive three day programme.

Speakers: Dr (Mrs) Elizabeth Thomas, Governing Body Member, Mobility India, and former principal of Bishop Cotton’s Women’s Christian College, Bengaluru will be the keynote speaker on the opening day of the conference. British born physiotherapist and philanthropist, and the founder/ coordinator of Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), Bangladesh, Ms Valerie Taylor will be present. Ms Taylor is decorated with many awards, including Order of the British Empire and the “Shadhinota Dibosh Podok”, the highest civilian award of Bangladesh. Mr. Rajesh Tiwari, Deputy Director, Social Welfare department, Govt. of Chhattisgarh will be among the speakers who will address the conference.

Says Ms Albina Shankar, Director Mobility India (MI), “Having completed over 20 years of service provision, and 12 years of training activity, and trained students from over 25 countries, it was only apt that MI takes up an initiative like this. 2014 marks the 20th year of MI’s existence. The world is changing, and it is imperative that we kept abreast of advancements in technology, methods and practices related to rehabilitation therapy. A conference like this provides a platform for all this and more and a roadmap for an Inclusive and Enabling Future.”  

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