Networking and resource-sharing
The group created a networking and resource-sharing WhatsApp group that offers mutual advice and support for more than 150 physiotherapists from 12 countries. The forum, known as the Rassemblement des Physiotherapeutes de l'Afrique Francophone (RAPAF) is now a good exchange platform for physiotherapists in French-speaking Africa.
The SUDA project ended in 2018 but its legacy remains. Local physiotherapy associations have taken responsibility for continuing the work by providing face to face continuing professional development as well as online courses, while also engaging their authorities in helping to develop the profession.
The professional associations in Morocco, Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Mali have joined World Physiotherapy. Niger was already a member when the project started.
Impact of the SUDA project
As for influencing, the raised profile for the profession has led to talks with government officials in Senegal to discuss how physiotherapists could help develop rehabilitation programmes for those affected by the Coronavirus outbreak in 2020. And in Ivory Coast, the ministry of higher education requested assistance from World Physiotherapy to support the development of an MA programme.
Joseph Martial CAPO-CHICHI, former president of the Beninese Association of Physiotherapists and currently vice chair of the Africa region of World Physiotherapy, was involved in the SUDA project. He was a mentor for the Association of Physiotherapists of Mali. He believes the project has enabled better organisation of the professional organisations.
“It has also raised the level of physiotherapists through training in leadership, management and physiotherapy techniques,” he says. “All this has positively changed the visibility of the profession in these different countries, both at the level of the population and of the politico-administrative authorities. It also strengthened the ties between physiotherapists in each country.
“SUDA encouraged the establishment of a network of physiotherapists, including even countries which the project had not considered at the start. This network has strengthened and perpetuated exchanges between physiotherapists, which will help improve care for populations.”