Life is but ‘countable breaths’, however, a small contribution towards any good cause make people feel lively and energetic. Like other medical fields, Physiotherapy is also a decades old healthcare profession in India. It works hand in glove with medical doctors in hospitals and clinics. It is a subject of utmost importance in the entire globe. It is a quality profession in developed countries. Given the government’s blind eye policy, the fate of physiotherapy profession in India is not normal. It is limping and needs to be corrected. Articles have already been published by experts on the importance of Physiotherapy in today’s world in different sectors. I will not go through that. I will make a point on the academic problems faced by graduate pass outs. There are many problems which need to be addressed but I will mention only few here. About 95% graduates are sitting on the fence deciding which way to choose. There is anger, fear, apprehension, psychological turmoil among candidates. They curse their existence. The only reason is that after completing bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy they don’t see any hope, and hope is what leads one to a desired goal.
Every year thousands of students become physiotherapy graduates in India which is good but the problems are;
There is no concrete government policy for Physios
Unlike other professions, Government has no policy for growing physiotherapists. Immediately after graduation, students search for jobs in different sectors or set up their own clinic but these both lack a build up government policy.
No stipend in internship and in masters program.
Unfortunately, after a four and a half years study program candidates get discouraged when asked to pay for internship in hospitals. Students need to be encouraged financially in order to build up keen interest and enthusiasm in the said field.
In a country of more than 250 physiotherapy colleges there are only two to three government institutions which give stipend in master’s program for qualifying candidates. This is sheer injustice. This will never grow confidence in budding Physios.
Students trying to seek higher education lack government avenues.
After graduation, most of the students opt for higher education but the fault is in the intake capacity in government institutions. The highest number of students that can go for masters program in NIRTAR, Oddisa is 14. In NIOH, Kolkata It’s 08 and in Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi it is 16. The numbers are meagre.These will not suffice the healthcare needs. Moreover, the problem in NIOH and NIRTAR is that government is taking entrance exam on the same date which means you have to choose between NIRTAR and NIOH. This adds to the worries of candidates. There are other government institutions but the problems faced by the students are same. This problem needs to be addressed as early as possible.
Many universities /colleges offer non-regular masters program which needs to be revamped.
The old illogical method for professionals opting for masters through non-regular way changes the discourse of modern way of securing advanced knowledge. It affects the professional belief. The candidates are not destined to avail this option. The better the college, the better the opportunities. Government should ban colleges having non-attending mode of education for health care professionals.
International Licence Exams.
Graduate students are not readily eligible for foreign license exams. They need to have good academic record and experience of at least two years after bachelor’s or one year after master’s. The problem here is that barring Australia, we don’t have any other collaboration with any of the foreign physio body so that students could at least take theoretical exam at home. Owing to their importance, The prestigious exams like NPTE(USA) , PCE(CANADA) , HAAD(ABU DHABI) etc need to have exam centre in Delhi only. The process for the same is difficult but not impossible. This could be a landmark achievement if conferred.
1. The government along with IAP India, need to chart out a solid policy for physiotherapists across the country. Be it regarding jobs or setting up of clinics.
2. Bring a policy on priority basis to provide stipend to the candidates in internship and in masters. This will increase interest and will help students work diligently and proficiently.
3. Government should introduce master’s program in other government institutes so that promising candidates qualify the exam. Seats should be substantially increased which have already been allotted to various government established institutions.
4. Ban universities/colleges offering masters in physiotherapy through irregular means. This gives rise to quacks and these quacks infect the profession.
5. Make easy for physios to work in foreign countries by bringing the above said exams home. This will increase the standard of Indian Physios globally.
6. Improve infrastructure and standard so that we can conduct exam for foreign nationals to work in India the same structured way they do. Such a step will reinforce our policies.
The only hope for budding physios is the newly appointed Indian Physio body. We bank upon at Dr Ali Irani, Dr Sanjiv Jha, Dr Ruchi Varshney and their team. Do something and save this sinking ship. Equip and combat the difficulties ahead. We hope you all will make government feel our dull pulse and let this profession wean off from ventilator.
Author is a physiotherapist(BPT) from S.K.Pora, Budgam, J&K.