By Fru Rita Ngum
The CBM) Pediatric Physiotherapist specialist, Maria Regina Mainetti has commended the Physiotherapy Services of the CBC Health Services (CBCHS) adding that there is need for readjustments and rearrangements of the Physiotherapy (PT) Department to meet standards of modern physiotherapy. The Pediatric PT specialist was speaking during her 5 days visit to some PT departments of CBCHS and SAJOCAH Bafut with the objective to assess infrastructure and equipment, staff competence, level of training needs and the perception of patients with regards to services.
Maria Regina was accompanied to 4 hospitals by the Programme Manager of the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) programme, Awa Jacques Chirac, Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project (CCCP) Project Officer, Tina Ashiyo, CCCP Monitoring & Evaluation Officer, Ndzi Grace and SEEPD Communication Officer, Fru Rita Ngum. The visit took place from September 11-15, 2017.
Welcoming her to the CBCHS, the Chief of Administration and Finance, Mr. Warri Denis noted that CBM has been an outstanding partner to the CBCHS for many years. The visit, which started at the SEEPD Programme Coordination Office, gave the CBM Specialist an overview of the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) programme and the Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project.
At each health facility, the team was welcomed by the Hospital Administration that expressed gratitude to CBM for supporting the PT department and for always putting in place measures for improvement. In the different hospitals, the Administrators noted that they will be open to receive recommendations from the CBM Specialist at the end of her visit.
At the St. Joseph Children and Adults Home (SAJOCAH) Bafut, the Head of the PT department, Sister Petra Muso explained that they have 2 Physiotherapy Assistants and 1 Physiotherapist and they receive 30 to 50 patients in the department daily with different deformities. Maria Regina noted that there is need for upgrading of skills in SAJOCAH especially of younger sisters to be on standby to replace the elderly ones when they become tired.
The next stop was at Banso Baptist Hospital which has 9 staff in the PT department. The Supervisor of the Physiotherapy Services of the CBCHS, Mr. Fanfon Timothy responding to questions from Maria Regina said that some of the PT staff in BBH have received training on clubfoot treatment on the basic and advanced courses. Regina Maria sought to know the areas where training could be needed for PT staff of the CBCHS. Mr Fanfon said that staff will need training in pediatric orthopedic, neurology, and adult orthopedics. Amongst the recommendations she gave in BBH, was that Community Based Rehabilitation field workers should be trained to be able to get the first set of demographic information on the assessment forms when doing identification in the communities.
In Mbingo Baptist hospital, the Physiotherapist, Mr. Nkwenti Alfred and the Head of department, Pastor Suh Promise revealed that they have 11 PT staff and receive 45 to 60 patients daily. Mr. Nkwenti highlighted the training needs of staff in clinical psychology to better relate well with the patients and help them out of trauma. After looking through the patients register, Maria Regina was worried that they don’t see many children and they don’t have a lot of space for treating neurological conditions. She is, however, hopeful that the problem will be solved when they have further training in neurological conditions. She also met with the orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Nana Christopher and shared with him some orthopedic issues she observed during her visit. While in the department in Mbingo, Regina Maria had a discussion with the Director of CBCHS which pointed to the fact that there is the need for a Physiotherapy training school in Cameroon.
The last stop was at Mutengene Baptist Hospital with 4 PT staff. The Head of the PT department, Mr. Fola George said they will need training in respiratory physiotherapy, revision on electrical modalities and ultrasound. Given that they have plans in relocating the department to a different space in the hospital to gain enough space, the CBM specialist encouraged the move because there is limited space in the department which increases patients waiting time.
In all the facilities, Regina Maria accompanied the PT staff in the treatment of some patients especially children with clubfoot. During the visit, she sought to know the time that the PT staff take to counsel parents on the treatment procedures. The Heads of the PT department in the different hospitals unanimously agreed with Maria Regina recommendation to train 1 or 2 PT staff in counselling so that they can offer professional counselling to the parents on the treatment procedures and need for adherence on clubfoot treatment. She was visibly satisfied with the treatment of clubfoot by the PT staff using the ponseti method and the PT services in general. It should be noted that the CBCHS has 36 PT staff in 10 health facilities which have PT departments or units.