The World Physiotherapy board and representatives of 10 member organisations met recently to explore the creation of a sixth region.
The board met, 9 December 2022, with representatives from the following member organisations in Dubai, UAE, to explore the creation of a new region in that part of the world:
- Bahrain Physical Therapy Association
- Jordanian Physiotherapy Society
- Kuwaiti Physical Therapy Association
- Order of Physiotherapists in Lebanon
- National Federation of Physiotherapists in Morocco
- Oman Physical Therapy Association
- Palestinian General Syndicate for Physical Therapy
- Saudi Physical Therapy Association
- Sudanese Physiotherapy Association
- Emirates Physiotherapy Society
Representatives from the following member organisations were invited but unable to attend:
- Afghan Association for Physical Therapy
- Iranian Physiotherapy Association
- Pakistan Physical Therapy Association
- Syrian Physical Therapy Association
- Yemeni Physical Therapy Association
The meeting attendees discussed a range of challenges faced by member organisations in the geographical area and the opportunities that may flow from having a regional structure within World Physiotherapy to better support the development of the profession in that part of the world.
It was noted that the decision not to participate within their current region may be due to several factors including a lack of cultural/linguistic connections, fees, or costs to attend meetings.
The meeting attendees agreed that having the opportunity to discuss these issues came at an important time with the world focusing on this part of the world during next year’s general meeting and congress.
Member organisations represented at the meeting, and those in the area that were unable to attend, were invited to return home to discuss with their member organisation’s leadership team the merits of World Physiotherapy establishing a new World Physiotherapy region. Further discussions will be held with the board prior to the next general meeting.
Emma Stokes, World Physiotherapy president, said: "As World Physiotherapy continues to grow in numbers and diversity, the potential for establishing a sixth region becomes more present. This possibility was the intention of the original decision to establish regions in 1991 and the discussions we had in Dubai were exciting and positive."
In 1988, member organisations passed amendments, at a special meeting, to the Articles of Association to allow for a new regional structure, allowing for up to six regions. This structure, of up to six regions, has been possible since 1 January 1989. However, only five regions (Africa, Asia Western Pacific, Europe, North America Caribbean, South America) have to date been established.
At the general meeting in 2019 the membership approved a new constitution which confirms that up to six regions may be established and the power to do so rests with the board.