Singapore International Foundation, Singapore Health Services and University of Health Sciences Collaborate to Enhance Standards and Quality of Physiotherapy Services in Cambodia
The Singapore International Foundation (SIF), in partnership with Technical School of Medical Care, University of Health Sciences (TSMC-UHS) and Singapore Health Services (SingHealth) today launched the Physiotherapy Bachelor Bridging Programme.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 19 January 2017 – The Singapore International Foundation (SIF), in partnership with Technical School of Medical Care, University of Health Sciences (TSMC-UHS) and Singapore Health Services (SingHealth) today launched the Physiotherapy Bachelor Bridging Programme which will allow Cambodians, armed with a diploma in Physiotherapy, to upgrade their skills and knowledge to a Bachelor’s Degree.
The Bridging Programme is part of a five-year collaborative project called Physiotherapy Bachelor’s Programme Upgrade, which sees healthcare professionals from Singapore and Cambodia working together to raise the standards and quality of physiotherapy services in Cambodia through more advanced training. Singapore healthcare volunteers from SingHealth, who are under the SIF’s Singapore International Volunteers (SIV) programme, have in the last few years worked together with Cambodian healthcare practitioners to develop the new bridging programme.
The one-and-a-half year part-time programme will equip students with advanced research methodology and evidence-based practice, treatment skills, clinical reasoning and applications. They will undergo theory, practice, and experiential learning through supervised clinical attachments. The new curriculum will focus on core subjects, building on the content of the current diploma programme, and incorporating additional topics such as Geriatric Physiotherapy, Community-based Rehabilitation and Research Methodology. It will cover a total of eight modules, namely: Musculoskeletal, Cardiopulmonary, Neurology and Geriatric, Paediatrics and Women’s Health, Community-Based Rehabilitation, Wheelchair Prescription, Research Thesis and Evidence-Based Practice and Health Promotion.
Classes start on 21 January 2017. Singapore medical volunteers will teach and conduct assessments together with Cambodian lecturers and trainers, particularly in the area of clinical trainings. In-depth discussions and meetings with industry leaders from the Cambodian Physical Therapy Association will also be conducted to ensure that the new curriculum meets the needs of the industry. At the end of the programme, the volunteers will conduct a review of the first batch of graduates to determine their impact on patients and the community. They will use the feedback to further shape and refine the bridging programme.
The Singapore healthcare volunteers will also continue to equip the Cambodian lecturers and trainers with enhanced knowledge and competency skills to teach the Programme beyond the first cohort, thus ensuring its long-term sustainability. This core group of 12 faculty members from TSMC-UHS have been through a series of workshops since 2015 to prepare them to teach the programme. They were trained on syllabus writing, lesson plans, clinical supervision, assessment and feedback for quality patient care, evidence-based practice and the use of online learning platforms to keep abreast of the teaching resources.
Ms Jean Tan, SIF Executive Director, said, “SIF is proud to be part of this five-year collaborative project. Since 1992, Singaporeans and Cambodians have worked together on several SIF’s capacity-building projects, to share knowledge, skills and resources to effect positive change. This continued partnership affirms the commitment of Singapore-Cambodia healthcare professionals to solve common challenges and uplift lives in building a better world.”
Professor Celia Tan, Group Director, Group Allied Health, SingHealth said, “SingHealth is privileged to partner the University of Health Science to develop the Bachelors Bridging Programme. Aimed at elevating the physiotherapy profession in Cambodia, the training will equip physiotherapists with advanced knowledge and practical skillsets to improve patient care and outcomes. The programme also offers them opportunities to pursue research with healthcare practitioners from other institutions, both local and overseas.”
His Excellency Professor Saphonn Vonthanak, Rector of UHS, said, “From 1987 to 2016, the university had trained 26 batches of 463 physical therapy students, out of which 162 were female students. We would like to thank the SIF, SingHealth, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Cambodian Physical Therapy Association (CPTA) for their active involvement and support in the development of the Physiotherapy Bachelor Bridging Programme. We are also grateful to our development partners, Japan International Cooperation Agency and Handicap International for their support in physical therapy training.”
His Excellency Professor Thir Kruy, Secretary of State, Ministry of Health, Cambodia, said, “I hope that through this Physiotherapy Bachelor Bridging Programme, we will be able to gradually address the shortage of physical therapy specialists in referral hospitals. According to the 16th National Congress Physiotherapy report in December 2016, physical therapy services are only available in 44 percent of the referral hospitals in the country. To further develop this field, I urge UHS and our other partners to make the necessary efforts to strengthen and expand these skills in order to respond to the increasing needs of the Cambodian people.”
This Singapore-Cambodia collaboration builds on the successful partnership among the SIF, SingHealth and UHS since 2007, which has seen the successful training of 61 Cambodian physiotherapists in achieving the Advanced Certificate in Physiotherapy Practice (ACP).
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