Travel as a volunteer: Work as physiotherapist

One of the Travel as a Volunteer programs is also work in the field of Physiotherapy. In 2021, a group of 6 physiotherapists joined us in The Gambia to perform work at Penmar Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation Centre.
Penmar Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation Centre is a private clinic offering access to physiotherapy and rehabilitation treatments and raising health awareness to prevent and reduce chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes etc. It was founded by Penda and Mariama, therefore the name of the clinic.

Students were divided into two groups. The first group stayed in the clinic, where they performed therapy with the patients listed for the physiotherapy session. The other part of the team travelled to the Brikama area each day, where they conducted fieldwork with portable equipment for patients who didn’t have access to physiotherapy. 

Work was performed with and under the supervision of mentors from the clinic. Students exchanged knowledge and techniques with the staff and performed therapy with the patients to help treat diseases, injuries, or deformities by physical methods such as massage, heat treatment, and exercise.

The volunteers described work as an unforgettable experience. Although the clinic has enough equipment to perform therapies, the work on the field was a little bit more challenging. One could see that the demand and need for physiotherapy in remote areas are very high. Many people just endure the pain and medical conditions, which should be considered even life-threatening. Many injuries and medical conditions come from the hard domestic work, which has to do with heavy lifting and carrying the heavy loads (carrying buckets of water on the head), bending down (on the garden, field, while washing, brooming). Students were also sensitizing their patients on bending down and lifting things differently to have less pressure on the spine. But squatting when lifting things, for the ladies who have been doing things the same way since young, for now, seems like a joke.
Two of our volunteers shared their experiences with us. Although they had quite an intense working schedule, there was enough time to enjoy The Gambia and experience the country by exploring it, visiting a local school and hanging out with locals, full of hospitality.
If you are studying or working in physiotherapy and thinking of meaningful travel, this might be the choice for you. To know more, send an email to info@travelasvolunteer.com and let your voluntaristic experience begin.
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