World Physiotherapy publishes annual review for 2022

The World Physiotherapy annual review 2022 captures the organisation’s activities as the global profession emerged from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and began to create and build connections around the world.

Writing in the annual review, Emma Stokes, World Physiotherapy president 2019-2023, said the global physiotherapy profession had begun 2022 with confidence “we were putting the immediate impacts of the global pandemic COVID-19 behind us and learning more about the legacies it will still have for individuals, communities, the health and education systems, and our profession.”

World Physiotherapy board meeting in February 2022
World Physiotherapy board and senior staff meet face to face, for the first time in two years, in February 2022

She said: “I think we all may have expected that life would revert to ‘normal’ once we emerged from COVID-19. What the events of 2022 have shown us is that we continue to be impacted globally by shocks and that these have impacts on World Physiotherapy. This requires the board and staff to be intentional about scenario planning and continue to plan financially with care and due diligence. This is especially the case as we have proposed exciting initiatives in our new strategic plan launched in 2022. For World Physiotherapy to have the resources to continue our global outreach and advocacy we need to continue to find sources of funding beyond the fees paid annually by our member organisations.

“We continue to thrive as an organisation and we are supported in our endeavours by a committed board, staff and a large corps of volunteers to whom we are immensely grateful. We could not do what we do or have the impact we do without this volunteer effort. I wish to thank all of you.”

Africa region congress in Benin in 2022
Participants at the Africa region congress in Benin in October 2022

Jonathon Kruger, World Physiotherapy chief executive officer, said that while travel was not the same as it had been before the COVID-19 pandemic, the opportunities to connect were increasing and welcome. 

Jonathon said: “There is something special and unique about a face-to-face meeting of our membership that is hard to replicate online. The sense of community and engagement that comes from catching up with old friends, making new friends, and networking with colleagues from across the globe are the components that make a World Physiotherapy event so unique.”

World Physiotherapy multistakeholder meeting in Copenhagen in June 2022
Co-hosts of the multistakeholder meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, in June 2022

He said one of the proudest achievements in the year had been co-hosting the multistakeholder meeting on the development of the rehabilitation workforce in central Asia and eastern Europe, which took place in June 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The meeting was organised in partnership with the WHO regional office for Europe, World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), and International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO).

Jonathon said: “Contemporary physiotherapy does not exist in this part of the world, and there is a poor understanding of best practice rehabilitation. This meeting showed how we can develop the physiotherapy profession in central Asia and eastern Europe, increase the reach of World Physiotherapy and its member organisations, and deliver lasting and valuable impact to millions of people through exposure to how physiotherapy can transform lives and improve global healthcare. This work has reinforced the important role that World Physiotherapy plays in supporting projects to develop the global physiotherapy profession.”

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Annual review 2022