Waje M1,2, A. Barth C3, O'Sullivan C4, Damascine J5, Bernabeu Mira E6
1National Hospital of Niamey, Rehabilitation, Niamey, Niger, 2Association of Physiothearpists of Niger (AKN), Niamey, Niger, 3International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), Physica Rehabilitation Program, Geneva, Switzerland, 4University College Dublin, School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports, Dublin, Ireland, 5Rwanda Physiotherapy Association, Kigali, Rwanda, 6International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Niamey, Niger

Background: Physiotherapy is underdeveloped in Niger. Its population of about 21 million is supplied with only 68 physiotherapist (1 for > 300'000 individuals)(1). The country has major health challenges and the role of Physiotherapy in the alleviation of these health burdens is frequently forgotten (2,3)
All physiotherapists of Niger are members of the AKN. Professional associations promote higher standards of practice, advocate for the needs of both service users and providers, form networks with other professional associations and liaise with legislative and regulatory bodies (4,5).
The published descriptions of capacity assessments of physiotherapy associations are limited. Understanding and measuring capacity of associations can highlight what needs to be done to strengthen associations, therefore strengthening the profession and quality of service delivery.

Purpose: This paper presents the findings of a capacity assessment of AKN, providing an overall evaluation of their organizational capacity, focusing on different aspects considered necessary for the development of strong and sustainable professional associations.

Methods: The tool chosen for the assessment is the Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool (OCAT)(6). OCAT uses five core organizational dimensions (culture, operations, performance, external relations and perceptions, association functions). Each of these is subdivided in specific capacities that were scored by AKN board members during a workshop on August 2018. All questions were rated and the scoring was recorded as a percentage for each capacity summing to an overall rating for each dimension.

Results: Scores for four dimensions had very similar final grading; culture (50%), operational capacity (46%), performance (47%) and functions of the association (49%) and only one dimension was remarkably different; external relationships and perceptions (75%). All dimensions had specific capacities that were scored on the lower and upper ranks:
Areas of strength were: Gouvernance (D1/63%), communication (D2/67%), pertinence (D3/63%), communication and external relationships (D4/75%) and service to members (D5/75%).
Areas of weakness were:: Strategy (D2/19%), infrastructure (D2/33%) and Human resources management (D2/25%) performance (in the sense of assessment of performance D2/33%) and influencing and advocating for change in health policy (D5/30%).

Conclusion(s): The process has served AKN to identify weak points that will inform areas for improvement. Some of them are clearly linked to the lack of capacity to attract funds that results in poor financial income for the association (infrastructure, HR) others are linked to long term vision and planning (strategy and advocacy).

Implications:Implications for AKN: The assessment will be followed by the development of an improvement plan, which lays out the association's specific strategy to enhance the organizational capacity areas that require improvement. It will also serve as baseline data that will be used for comparison purpose in future assessments to measure progress in capacity development.
Implications for the PT profession: For many PT national associations, the ability to take action and assume leadership depends on their ability to strengthen their organizational capacity to improve the association's performance and expand the reach and impact of their activities. More effort needs to be put into strengthening the associations' capacities, tools to be tested and shared within the regional sector

Keywords: Assessment, association, advocacy

Funding acknowledgements: N/A

Topic: Professional issues; Professional issues: business skills, leadership & advocacy

Ethics approval required: No
Institution: N/A
Ethics committee: N/A
Reason not required: The assessment is done on the PT association, no patients or data involved

All authors, affiliations and abstracts have been published as submitted.

Back to the listing