We began to support physiotherapists in Vietnam in 2017 after being approached by the international charity Humanity & Inclusion, which was able to provide support as part of a USAID funded project.
The World Physiotherapy team, led by the head of programmes and development Sidy Dieye, included three experienced physiotherapy academics – Margot Skinner, Prue Morgan and Liz Holey – who were able to help support the further development of the profession in Vietnam.
Although the Vietnamese physiotherapy entry level programme is university based and at a BSc level, it does not yet meet international standards. Physiotherapists are viewed as assistants to rehabilitation doctors, and were only allowed to have their own professional organisation in 2019.
Aims of the project
Our work in Vietnam is focused on developing a:
- national entry level programme
- national competency standard
- modern national professional association
- CPD programme through the Vietnam Physical Therapy Association (VNPTA).
Funding for the project, known as ADAPTIVE (ADvAncing PhysioTherapy In ViEtnam), is provided by World Physiotherapy, Humanity & Inclusion through a USAID funded project, and the Australian Physiotherapy Association.
World Physiotherapy is also part of a project led by Universite Catholique de Louvain la Neuve (UCL), funded by the Belgian government. This aims to develop a master’s degree programme at Ho Chi Minh University of Medicine and Pharmacy.
Lê Thanh Vân is head of the physiotherapy course at Ho Chi Minh University and vice president of the Vietnam Physical Therapy Association (VNPTA).
“The most important difference that the project made is to get agreement among universities,” Van said. “We have always dreamt of a national education programme in physiotherapy. Vietnamese patients would benefit very much from it.”
The VNPTA submitted its membership application to World Physiotherapy in May 2020.