Singapore and Cambodia Collaborate to Raise the Capabilities of Cambodian Physiotherapy Practitioners

The Singapore International Foundation (SIF), Technical School of Medical Care, University of Health Sciences (TSMC-UHS) and Singapore Health Services (SingHealth) unveiled a new Bachelor’s programme in physiotherapy to promote enhanced mobility, function and overall quality of life of patients in Cambodia.

The pioneer batch of students in the Physiotherapy Bachelor Bridging Programme (in light blue uniforms) takes one for the album with His Excellency Mr Michael Tan, Singapore’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia (top row, centre), Singapore International Volunteers and representatives from the Singapore International Foundation, Singapore Health Services and University of Health Sciences, Cambodia.

Held on 19 January 2017, the launch of the Physiotherapy Bachelor Bridging Programme brought Singaporean and Cambodian communities together to celebrate the start of a collaborative journey in effecting positive change. This one-and-a-half year programme, put together by Singaporean and Cambodian physiotherapy practitioners, will enable Cambodian students armed with a diploma in Physiotherapy to upgrade their skills and knowledge to a Bachelor’s degree. Up to 25 students per year are expected to benefit from the new programme. It is designed to enhance their proficiency in practicing physiotherapy services independently, and uplift the lives of the people of Cambodia who need the treatment.

More than 200 TSMC-UHS students attended the launch ceremony held at the University’s Auditorium. Among them, 19 students of the pioneer batch who started their first Bachelor-level lesson on 21 January 2017. During the ceremony, Guest-of-Honour His Excellency Professor Thir Kruy, Secretary Of State, Ministry Of Health, Cambodia urged for all project partners, including the SIF, to make the necessary efforts to strengthen and expand physiotherapy skills to meet the increasing needs of the Cambodian people. He 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 [in Cambodia].”

The first student cohort of the Physiotherapy Bachelor Bridging Programme learning about the upcoming curriculum and assessment during orientation after the launch ceremony in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The Bachelor’s programme is part of the SIF-SingHealth-UHS’ five-year healthcare training project entitled Physiotherapy Bridging Programme Upgrade, aimed to raise the standards and quality of physiotherapy services in Cambodia. During this period, a specialist team of Singapore International Volunteers (SIV) led by Professor Celia Tan from Group Allied Health of SingHealth will share resources and expertise in physiotherapy to their Cambodian counterparts. This includes a core group of 12 ‘master trainers’ who will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to teach the new curriculum and train others in the field, thus sustaining the skills transfer during and after the project. Since 2015, this group had undergone training workshops, led by SIV in-field volunteer Ms Irene Toh, to further prepare them in teaching the Bachelor’s programme.

Mr Song Sit, President of the Cambodian Physical Therapy Association, and one of the master trainers in charge of Wheelchair Prescription and Community-based Rehabilitation modules, said, “This is a dream come true. Before meeting our Singaporean friends, we never would have dreamt that our physiotherapy profession could have reached this level of qualification. Over the years, the Singaporean volunteers have been very supportive and provided encouragement for us to improve the standards of physiotherapy education in Cambodia. By working together, I believe that the Bachelor’s programme will achieve great outcomes to help our local community.” 

19 January 2017
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.

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