Physiotherapy Training to Enhance Community-based Rehabilitation Services in Papua New Guinea: An Educational Perspective

Priya Karthikeyan, Karthikeyan Paramasivam Ramalingam


This paper describes the training of physiotherapists as community based rehabilitation (CBR) team members to assist persons with disabilities living in Papua New Guinea (PNG). At Divine Word University (DWU), PNG, a unique physiotherapy training programme integrates CBR into the curriculum and trains students to analyse and understand the basic needs of individuals with disability, and meet these needs within the scope of national and international policies. Community visits and clinical placements familiarise the students with the true situation of persons with disabilities.

The specific outcome of the CBR unit is that students learn how to think critically and address the main issues faced by persons with disabilities and communities in the education, health, social, empowerment and livelihood domains. CBR plays a major role in assisting and promoting basic services for persons with disabilities within the limited resources available in countries like PNG. The authors conclude that equipping physiotherapy students with CBR skills will eventually lead to improvement in service delivery.


Physiotherapists; CBR; communities; developing countries; persons with disabilities

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