World Physical Therapy Day 2016: Add life to Years

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World Physical Therapy Day falls on 8th September every year, and is an opportunity for physical therapists from all over the world to raise awareness about the crucial contribution the profession makes to keeping people well, mobile and independent.

The theme of World Physical Therapy Day 2016 is ‘Add life to years’. The vision is a world in which everyone can live a long and healthy life. Physical therapists and physiotherapists are key contributors and can achieve the vision in their own communities and at the level of health systems.

World Physical Therapy Day is a platform for physiotherapists to show collectively and across the world how important and impactful the profession is in ensuring healthy and active older people and in optimizing functional independence and ability. Physiotherapists have a key role in helping people with long-term conditions achieve their goals, fulfill their potential and participate fully in society.

This is the message that thousands of physiotherapists in Nigeria are sending out on World Physical Therapy Day on 8th September. Many people with long-term health conditions or disabilities lead fulfilled lives. But some do not because they do not receive the right kind of support. This can be devastating to individuals and this waste of potential also has a cost to others: families, communities and societies.

A recent study showed that the loss of global economic output as a result of long-term conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and cancer will be US$ 63 trillion over the next 20 years. However, it needn’t be like that, says WCPT. “The people who seek and need the services of physical therapists range from babies to older people, from people with profound disabilities to the highest performing athletes. Through our engagement with them and our focus on physical activity, exercise and movement we have the power to ensure that people reach their potential whatever that may be,” says Emma Stokes, the WCPT President, whose message is relayed by the Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy President, Taiwo Oyewumi.

The evidence of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of physical therapy for older adults is incontrovertible. World Physical Therapy Day, with its focus on adding life to years, gives Physiotherapists a great platform to communicate this message to older people, the wider community and healthcare policy and decision makers. Physical therapists (known in many countries as physiotherapists) are experts in developing and maintaining people’s ability to move and function throughout their lives.

With an advanced understanding of how the body moves and what keeps it from moving well, they promote wellness, mobility and independence. They treat and prevent many problems caused by pain, illness, disability and disease, sport and work related injuries, ageing and inactivity. Physical therapists are educated over several years, giving them a full knowledge of the body’s systems and the skills to treat a wide range of problems.


Dr. Olumide Dada, National PRO