Locally trained Occupational Therapists call for more awareness of profession

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The first group of the University of Guyana (UG) trained Occupational Therapists have been deployed to various facilities which cater to the rehabilitative needs of persons in the country.

Deoranie Babulall, attached to the Palms Geriatric Home, Afeeza Khan at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, Errica Canterbury, West Demerara Regional Hospital and Calvin Lawrie is at the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre.

The first batch of locally trained Occupational Therapists in Guyana.

These four therapists all shared with the Department of Public Information (DPI) their experience, thus far, working as Occupational Therapists. They all noted that the new profession is quite unknown to the Guyanese populace.

“Often times, people would think we are physiotherapists, they don’t know what are Occupational Therapists. Physiotherapy is different and we need to get people to understand that,” Khan explained

In this regard, the therapists stressed that more persons need to be aware of the function of occupational therapy and it must start with the training of more young persons in this field. This group of young professionals did not withhold the challenges that come with the inclusion of this profession into their different of programmes of areas of work.

Occupational therapy can be described as the use of particular activities to aid in the recuperation from physical or mental illness and re-integration into society.

Babulall, who works with adults at the Palms Geriatric Home, pointed out that while family involvement is key to successful occupational therapy, there may be some cultural barriers which affect the administering of this therapy.

“As we know here in Guyana persons are very dependent on their family. The Family will step in and take over, taking care of somebody with a disability.” Essentially, Occupational Therapy promotes the need for a patient to be more independent in carrying out day to day activities.

Meanwhile, Lawrie, the only trained male Occupational Therapist noted that occupational therapy in schools may be necessary, particularly when it comes to evaluating a child’s learning abilities. “With children, we don’t really see the need for occupational therapy. Persons won’t see the need if the child is slow in school, we just say ok the child is a dunce but we’d really have to evaluate and in education, this shows the need for occupational therapy.”

In advocating for intensified awareness, these therapists said that first there must be an interest in motivating persons to enter the profession. Thereafter, there can be more persons in workplaces, schools and other private sector places offering this type of service without limiting it to a medical service.

“My hope is that occupational therapists can be recognised as pertinent in every workplace, in every sector because we can function in all of these areas,” Errica Canterbury said while pointing out that upcoming therapists should consider placing their focus on mental health.


By: Delicia Haynes


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