WHILE physiotherapists face a struggle for recognition in many parts of the world, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong has little doubts about their importance.
Mr Gan said physiotherapists will play a key role in keeping the elderly in Singapore healthy as the country's population ages. They help maintain the well-being of the elderly and can help them speed up functional recovery when they are ill or injured, he said yesterday.
Singapore has kept a "firm eye" on ensuring that there are enough qualified physiotherapists, he said of the professionals who treat injury, disease or disability through exercise or massage, for example.
He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the three-day World Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress 2015 at Suntec City, attended by more than 4,000 physiotherapists.
It is the first time the conference, which is held every four years, is taking place in Singapore.
The congress' president, Dr Marilyn Moffat, who also spoke at the opening ceremony, had noted the lack of recognition for physiotherapists in many parts of the world.
She said the confederation has come a long way since its founding in 1951, when there were just 11 member organisations. Today, there are 113 of them.
It has also teamed up with other global bodies such as the World Health Organisation and the International Red Cross.
But the profession still lacks recognition in some parts of the world, she said, even though it can play a role in easing the growing human and financial tolls of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. These diseases can lead to disability and also be fatal.
Said Dr Moffat: "There needs to be wider acknowledgement of the contribution that physical therapists can make, and should be making, in keeping populations healthy and reducing health costs."
This article was first published on May 02, 2015.
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