A Special issue on Disaster Management – Role of Physiotherapist

No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.- Dalai Lama

Thank you so much. Yes, the only word I can think of as we enter the seventh year of our service in the field through our 37th consecutive issue. The selfies and photos sent by you reading PHYSIOTIMES is a testimony of your love and unflinching support. THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE! Let me also wish you all a very happy world physiotherapy day. I am sure you all would have celebrated this special day in your own way. Do write to us in brief alomg with the pictures and we shall publish them in our next issue. Our world continues to be an unpredictable place in which to live and work. Disasters; be it natural or man-made; will and do occur, seemingly with ever-increasing frequency. Although natural disasters have been the one under discussions most of the time, strategies that enhance our resilience, sustainability and ability to recover after a disaster would also apply to man-made disasters. Physiotherapists in collaboration with key stakeholders have a major role to play in disaster preparedness and response management. WCPT on its official website has listed how Physical therapists can contribute to disaster management in many ways, not only before, but also during and after a disaster. This mainly includes contributing to local disaster planning and preparation, Donating money or supplies, Supporting disaster relief organizations and Volunteering. (http://www.wcpt.org/disaster-management/How-individual-physical-therapists-can-contribute) This special issue highlights the role of physiotherapists in the wake of a traumatic disaster through experiences and learnings of several experts who have been an active part of some or the other disaster in the past. The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked Nepal on Saturday, April 25 2015 caused enormous devastation throughout the country. It is however, heartening to note that physiotherapists from Nepal and foreign countries along with other health care professionals & volunteering organizations have played a crucial role to rehabilitate the survivors, provide orthopedic and rehabilitative care to injured people and extend psychosocial support to help those affected communities.

Sunil Pokhrel, a Nepalese Physio and a NEPTA member and Phillip Sheppard, a Canadian physiotherapist present in Nepal during the earthquake narrate their experiences and learnings. Dr. Senthil Kumar with his team of student volunteers have submitted a field action report on the work done post earthquake in Nepal. Dr. V. C. Jacob & Dr. Ashok Patil have shared their experiences of working with various volunteer organizations during the earthquakes that hit Latur (Maharashtra) in 1993 and Kutch (Gujarat) in 2001. The chief mentor Dr. Mokashi has narrated his reflections on disasters of various kinds and even looked at the mythological angle. The issue also highlights the need for preparedness during phenomenon like heavy rains and floods. The interview with humanitarian worker Diana His cock takes the readers through the journey of her thirty years of working in the field of disaster management with varied experiences. Amit Patel has summed up the phases of disaster management and the road map for physiotherapists in a brief article. To Sum up, I would say that sometimes, the darkest times can bring us to the brightest places. No matter how difficult things seem, there is always HOPE.(Hang On Pain Ends) That every dark cloud has a silver lining. That there is light at the end of every tunnel. Every disaster is an opportunity to show our resilience, tenacity and resolve to fight back and help those afflicted souls live life of dignity and independence. I am sure this special issue instigates this belief in each and every physiotherapist on the planet.

COVER FEATURE: Post Earthquake Physical Rehabilitation - ASHOK KUMAR V. PATIL

Disasters are responsible for mortality and morbidity of human lives. They cause a set back to the whole affected and surrounding area. Sometimes this set back can be equal to the decade of regression in terms of environment, homes, working offices or industries and health care services. We, Physiotherapists, professionally have a major role in the rehabilitation of those who are affected by of the disasters which leave more survivors with physical injuries. Earthquake is one of the most dema... Read More

MENTOR SPEAKS: Some reflections on Disasters - DR .M.G. MOKASHI

In Vedic period there is mention of river Sarasvati flowing from Punjab, UP, Rajasthan and Kutch (present names) prior to Mahabharat period (3000BC). Now there is no trace of this sacred river and it is believed as per Hindu tradition that it is in invisible form (underground?) and meets rivers Ganga and Yamuna which is known as Trivenisangama- union of three rivers at Prayag near Allahabad.

Capital of Sri Rama, Ayodhya on the bank of river Sharayu was actually founded by Manu. Trad... Read More

PHYSIO SPEAKS: A Life dedicated to the service of humanity - DIANA HISCOCK

Diana Hiscock, M.Sc., MCSP, Dip.Ed., has dedicated her career to practice in developing countries and disaster and emergency situations. For over 30years she has worked with non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) as a disability advisor and project manager in marginalized communities and area affected by natural disaster and war.

“My Professional career in physiotherapy and teaching gave me a core of academic and technical skills which led me from working in the UK to ma... Read More

EXPERT VIEWS: Role of Voluntary Organizers: Experiences in Post-Disaster Rehabilitation - DR. V.C.JACOB

Do we need the services of national or international voluntary organizers in the rehabilitation of victims of major disasters like earthquakes This has been a question asked by many as there is always a doubt about the motive behind the help coming from various national and international organizations, political parties, religious organizations, voluntary social organizations and so on. Any amount of help coming from various organizations would be inadequate as the requirement would still be ... Read More

SPECIAL FEATURE: Heavy Rains &Floods; How Prepared are we? - DR.ASHOK SHARMA

It is the man’s fault to cause many environmental hazards.  Recently we have seen effects of prolonged rainfall & devastation of Kashmir &Kedarnath.  The Kedarnath temple & the town is situated on a slope.  Huge boulders above & behind the temple were the factors limiting the furry of nature in the past.  It use to divert the flow of the down coming water through a mountain river.  The moment the boulders were disturbed the on gushing rain water ... Read More

REPORTAGE: Coping Response of Physiotherapy Student Volunteers in Disaster Management: Field Report from Nepal Earthquake - PROF.DR.C.K.SENTHIL KUMAR

Nepal Earthquake also called as Gorkha Earthquake occurred on 25th April 2015 killing more than 8,800 people and living more than 23,000 injured. It was the worst natural disaster to affect Nepal since 1934, Nepal Bihar Earthquake. This Earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest making it the deadliest day on the mountain in the history killing at least 19 people whereas 250 people were reported missing. Many centuries old buildings were destroyed, hundreds and thousands of people wer... Read More

STRAIGHT FROM THE GUT: Nepal Earthquake: The Chronicle of a foreign physic - PHILLIP SHEPPARD

“Finally, a smile!” The rehab team and I celebrated for a moment while working with a 7 year old Nepalese girl who had sustained a life altering above knee amputation as a result of debris falling on her leg during the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal on April 25th, 2015.

At last she was happy to see us and showed us that beautiful smile. But, this wasn’t always the case. At the beginning, this young girl was reluctant to have anyone near her. She had been through... Read More

SNAPSHOT: Nepal Earthquake-Experiences & Observations of a Nepalese PT - SUNIL POKHREL

1) Introduction- There are many articles where the role of physiotherapy in disaster management is highlighted internationally. It’s important to go through those articles and learn how a Physiotherapist contributes in activities before and after a disaster. Having advance knowledge of the possible roles and responsibilities in disasters is called individual preparedness which can be done by referring to the resources available on the internet. However, disaster pr... Read More

REVIEW ARTICLE: Physical therapist or "Disaster managers"; a New era & New Beginning - DR.AMIT PATEL

As per the Oxford dictionary a disaster is “a sudden accident or a natural catastrophe that causes great damage or loss of life”. As per the Disaster Management Act 2005, a disaster is defined as “a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or man-made cause, or by accident or negligence which results in substantial loss of life or human suffering or damage to, and destruction of property, or damage to, or degradation of, environment... Read More




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