Singapore-Laos Partner to Raise the Standard of Physiotherapy Education in Laos to Empower More People With Disabilities to Enjoy a Better Quality of Life

The President of the Republic of Singapore, Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, and Patron of the SIF, visited the fifth training workshop of SIF’s “Physiotherapy Education Upgrade Project” in Vientiane, a significant gesture that reflects Singapore’s warm and longstanding relations with Laos.

President and Mrs Tan witnessed a training session conducted by SIF’s SIVs Mr Vimal Palanichamy (second from right clad in orange) and Mr Jeremy Lim, (third from right clad in orange) at the Faculty of Medical Technology, University of Health Sciences, Vientiane City, Lao PDR.

Singapore and Laos work closer together to empower more people with disabilities to overcome their challenges to lead fuller, more productive and meaningful lives in Laos. The Physiotherapy Education Upgrade Project is a three year collaboration between the Singapore International Foundation (SIF), Singapore Health Services Pte Ltd (SingHealth) and the Faculty of Medical Technology at the University of Health Sciences (FMT-UHS), Vientiane City, Lao PDR.

By the end of the project in 2018, FMT-UHS’s programme’s curriculum will be substantially enhanced with the latest physiotherapy and pedagogical methods. In addition, a core group of 25 Laotian ‘Master Trainers’ will be selected and equipped with the skills and knowledge to deliver the enhanced curriculum. This team of ‘Master Trainers’ will go on to train at least 30 physiotherapy students per year. Upon graduation, each of these 30 physiotherapists will treat at least 10 patients per month, enabling around 3,600 patients a year to regain some level of physical functioning to reintegrate back into society.

This is the fifth training workshop aimed at using education to empower the community. Medical volunteers under the SIF’s Singapore International Volunteers (SIV) programme from SingHealth have so far successfully trained 136 Laotian professionals. They also ran a symposium on “Evidence Based Rehabilitation” to raise awareness of rehabilitative care to Laotian healthcare communities in August 2016.

The President of the Republic of Singapore, Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, who is also Patron of the SIF, accompanied by Mrs Tan, visited the workshop at the FMT-UHS in Vientiane, on 13 January 2017, in a significant gesture that reflected Singapore’s warm and longstanding relations with Laos.

President and Mrs Tan also observed a Laotian physiotherapy student’s demonstration of physiotherapy techniques imparted by SIF’s SIVs. This training follows SIF’s train-the-trainer model – where specialist SIVs conduct training to upgrade the skills and technical know-hows of overseas professionals and train local professionals to become trainers themselves to enable greater self-reliance.

Our Laotian friends had much to share on this partnership with Singapore:

Associate Professor Dr Phouthone Muongpak, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Health, Laos said that this project is a good platform for Laotian and Singaporean healthcare professionals to learn and share from one another. He also reaffirmed the good relations between the two nations by adding that the people of Singapore have been “very friendly to the people of Laos and that both sides can work well together.”

Associate Professor Dr Bouathep Phoumin, Vice Dean, Faculty of Medical Technology, University of Health Sciences also added, “We are delighted at the partnership to enhance the overall quality of physiotherapy education in Laos. The collaborative effort has not only positively impacted physiotherapists, but also the wider healthcare professionals within our community. We appreciate this friendship with Singapore and look forward to deepening this relationship.”

You may read more about the project via the press release here:

https://www.sif.org.sg/pressrelease/singapore-laos-collaboration-to-raise-the-standard-of-physiotheraphy-education-in-laos

You can view more images on President’s visit to the fifth training workshop of “The Physiotherapy Education Upgrade Project” at the FMT-UHS in Vientiane, on 13 January 2017 here:

https://www.sif.org.sg/photos/the-physiotherapy-education-upgrade-project-vientiane-city-lao-pdr

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