Ethiopia is one of the poorest nations on earth. With a population of over 85 million people there are fewer than 2000 physicians and less than 200 physical therapists with bachelor’s level degrees. These physical therapists are in need of advanced education.
The Jackson Clinics Foundation established two levels of education to address the rehabilitation needs of the country; an advanced studies program for current therapists and a doctoral degree program. The first level of education was to establish a two year Advanced Studies program for the 24 physical therapists working at Black Lion Hospital, the teaching hospital for the Addis Ababa University, (AAU), Medical School. The educational offerings of this program were also offered to the other physical therapists in Addis and throughout the country as well. We have partnered with Regis University in Denver, Colorado to provide didactic material so that this core group of physical therapists can earn a DPT degree.
The purpose of developing the Advanced Studies program at Black Lion Hospital was to provide a vehicle to raise the education and clinical performance of the physical therapists working at the hospital to an advanced level of clinical competency. The program was conceived and executed by The Jackson Clinics, and funded by the Jackson Clinics Foundation. Clinical faculty, classroom faculty, and Resident mentors have been provided by The Jackson Clinics and Health Volunteers Overseas, (HVO), and Regis University.
The Advanced Studies program covered eight modules of didactic and clinical education, (Lumbopelvic, Shoulder/elbow, Cervical, Knee, Cardiopulmonary/wrist/hand, Neurological, Foot/Ankle, and Pediatrics). These modules were taught as Level One education over a two year period starting January 1, 2011. We are proud to report that 37 volunteer instructors participated in this two year educational process.
The second level of our educational endeavor is to establish a doctoral degree program in physical therapy, (DPT), at the AAU Medical School. This is an eight year project with approximately 50% of the education provided by Medical School faculty and the rest provided by American and European volunteers. After eight years the intent is that the program will be fully staffed with Ethiopian professors. The foreign volunteer staff will be replaced by the graduates of our Advanced Studies Program.
The Jackson Clinics is pleased, and very proud to announce that our program to raise the level of education of physical therapists and care to individuals in Ethiopia has taken a giant leap forward!
In late 2010 we submitted a proposal to Addis Ababa University, (AAU), to launch a Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy, (DPT). The University has accepted our curriculum and will accept 25 students this fall. Regis University will be writing the final version of the curriculum. Further, the physiotherapists we have previously trained at Black Lion Hospital may apply for this program, and those accepted will be sponsored by the university.
To improve the quality and quantity of physical therapy services to patients in Ethiopia through updating and broadening therapists’ skills and knowledge of physical therapy across all specialties.
- Offer continuing education to currently practicing therapists.
- Develop an Advanced Studies program for physical therapists at Black Lion Hospital.
- Explore the opportunity and effectiveness of distance learning instruction.
- Partner with Regis University to provide didactic education.
- Implement a doctor of physical therapy curriculum, recognized by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education set to start September 2012.
In 2007 a four story rehabilitation facility was opened which houses the department of orthopedics and physical therapy. By Ethiopian standards this is a very modern building. There are numerous classrooms and labs. There are two large treatment areas presently being used on the ground and first floors for outpatient physical therapy. There is a small pediatrics gym. There is also a prosthetics and orthotics lab. The 24 physical therapists at Black Lion Hospital rotate through outpatient, inpatient, and pediatric services. Theodros Gebriel, DPT, Ethiopian born and US educated, (Howard University and Temple University), is our in country liaison. He returned there, after working for The Jackson Clinics for over six years, to attempt to raise the level of physical therapy education in Ethiopia. He has been appointed to the Faculty of the Medical School, has an office in the Rehabilitation building, and has opened a private office in Addis Ababa.
In September 2011, Richard and Anna Jackson opened a 12 station learning center for our students in Ethiopia. Didactic material was donated by the American Physical Therapy Association, (APTA), and The Jackson Clinics. We are presently working on building a reference library.