Malawi only has 30 therapists out of an estimated population of 13 million, a development the Physiotherapy Association of Malawi said has increased the number of people with preventable disabilities.
PAM chairperson, Sylvia Kambalametole, said a quarter of the number of disabilities in Malawi could be avoided if there were "at least more therapists in the country, as well as local medical colleges specializing in this area." She said at the moment, Malawian therapists were being trained abroad, thus increasing the costs of education.
"Imagine, one therapist has to look after 500, 000 people. This is placing unnecessary pressure on the few human resource capacity we have, and there is need to increase the number. The sad thing is that most of the people with disabilities here have conditions that would have easily been avoided had they sought medical help much, much earlier," said Kambalametole.
PAM, which has been in existence since 1994, now wants to bridge the gap in knowledge, and has increased advocacy activities. A majority of Malawians do not go for medical check up, a situation that translates into "unnecessary" deaths, as people succumb to illnesses that could have otherwise been avoided.