Jun 24, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Rehabilitation plays an essential part in any rounded health sector. Made simple, rehab is the action of restoring someone to health or normal life through training, treatment or therapy. Without realising it, most people require rehab at some point or the other in their lives.
Particularly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, rehabilitation workers have been helpful in getting persons to cope or recover from the illness and return to a life of normalcy.
Yet, rehabilitation professionals have their work cut for them in raising public awareness of the importance of their role in helping society cope and overcome their physical and mental challenges. Their services, ever so often, go unnoticed and without its due praise.
As such, this year, the Disability and Rehabilitation Services (DRS) unit under the Ministry of Health, launched its 17th Rehab Week of activities under the theme: “Rehabilitation in the Frontlines during the Covid-19 Pandemic.”
According to the Director of the DRS, Dr. Ariane Mangar, the theme was chosen because the Rehab Department wanted to highlight the wonderful job the staff has been doing, especially during the pandemic. She explained that all the rehabilitation staff has been on the frontline since the COVID-19 hit Guyana.
In her address to a two-day symposium held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Monday, Dr. Mangar highlighted the efforts of the physiotherapists, who have been playing a major role in response to the needs of patients directly affected by COVID-19.
She said, “our physiotherapists have played an essential role in responding to the specific needs of COVID-19 patients both in the Intensive Care Unit firstly at GPHC (and) now at the Ocean View Facility where they would have treated over 1,800 patients to date and also treating patients after presenting with post-COVID syndrome and most recently helping our colleagues with their vaccination efforts here in Guyana.”
Dr. Mangar said too that besides the COVID-19 patients, rehabilitation personnel have been working throughout the pandemic to help maintain the essential services in these unprecedented times.
“As you are aware, COVID came but people did not stop having strokes, amputations, spinal cord injuries and children didn’t stop being disabled, so our services to the public continued during this time,” Dr. Mangar posited.
In this regard, she stressed on the importance of the service. She noted that one in three people will need rehabilitation at some point in their lives and much too often these needs go unmet.
“As we move forward, we need people to understand and value rehabilitation as a key to living long and healthy lives. Rehabilitation should essentially be integrated throughout the continuity of life – baby to the elderly,” she added.
The DRS Director noted that Disability and Rehabilitation Week has always provided the opportunity to increase the public’s awareness of rehabilitation services that are available in Guyana. These services include physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy, audiology, prosthetics and orthotics, all of which are offered along with other resident and vocational services for the disabled.
During the symposium, Dr. Mangar also commended the staffers who are committed to the work of the DRS. “I would like to make special mention of Ms. Gloria Garraway who has been with the Rehabilitation services for 43 years and spent over 35 years in Linden plying her trade for the Bauxite Company and then the Linden Hospital Complex. Ms Garraway was very instrumental in every facet of scaling up rehab in Guyana. She was also past president of the Guyana Physiotherapy Association and a member of the allied health professionals’ council,” she said.
The DRS Director also took time to recognise all the rehabilitation staff and students of the University of Guyana who have endured through the many challenges that developed with the onset of the pandemic and continue to adapt to help find solutions to provide rehab services.
Dr. Mangar noted, nonetheless, that rehab services have come a long way. “And with all the youths I see in this room at the symposium and with the continued support we receive from our Minister, fellow directors and the Permanent Secretary, we can surely take rehab services to the next level as we strive to build and strengthen the rehabilitation services in Guyana,” she said.
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