As the pandemic continued in 2021, the ICRC Regional Delegation’s Physical Rehabilitation Programme (PRP) adapted the planned on-site capacity-building training to a virtual learning mode. Capacity building of professionals working in physical rehabilitation is one of the core activities of the PRP.
In partnership with Human Study Germany, two online programmes were organized in 2021. The first virtual course on Ischial Containment Socket (ICS) for prosthetists from national training institutes was held from October to December. The ICRC also held a series of webinars on cerebral palsy, which catered to a large audience and was attended by over 770 students and professionals. Additionally, to support the physical rehabilitation of sportspersons, the first Virtual Wheelchair Basketball Championship was organized by the ICRC in Nepal in collaboration with ENGAGE.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the ICRC and the National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (NIEPMD), Chennai, hosted a virtual training on Ischial Containment (IC) socket design for staff from training institutes. The socket is an integral part of the prosthetics device needed for persons with transfemoral amputations. This is the first time that national training institutes and the ICRC collaborated to organize practical training online for prosthetists and orthotics in the country. Navid Dadbin, Regional PRP Manager, stressed the critical role the training played in knowledge and skill sharing, especially for the academicians who can now share their learnings with their students.
The Regional Delegation in New Delhi organized a webinar series on “Current Rehabilitation Methods for Cerebral Palsy” in collaboration with the Indian Association of Physiotherapists (IAP), Orthotics and Prosthetics Association of India (OPAI), International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) India and Human Study Germany (an established PRP partner). The four webinars began on 29th October and concluded on 3rd December, on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Delivered by a multi-disciplinary team of rehabilitation experts from Germany, over 770 participants joined the online sessions from different countries in South East Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, Africa and Europe. “Given the number of available free webinars since the start of the pandemic within the rehabilitation sector, such a large participation has been a great success proving the relevancy of the content and quality of the programme,” said Navid Dadbin.
Strengthening existing rehabilitation services is one of the main domains of the work done by the physical rehabilitation programme. Rehabilitation is not complete until the service user is included in society. In an attempt to encourage inclusion through sports, the ICRC in Nepal organized the first Virtual Wheelchair Basketball Championship in collaboration with ENGAGE. One of the players from the winning team expressed their delight, “When we heard that a wheelchair basketball tournament was going to be virtual, we thought this was impossible, but when we saw the adapted module that assessed our court skills online, we realized we don’t have to stop engaging in this sport because of a lockdown. We can continue to meet virtually and practice dribbling, shooting together.”
Referring to future projects, Navid Dadbin said that in line with its global strategy to organize online programmes since the start of the pandemic, “the physical rehabilitation programme in India will have similar webinars in 2022 targeting larger audiences from all physical rehabilitation projects worldwide and their partners”.