Physiotherapy in humanitarian missions

This role has been made possible by the improvement of care conditions in the dispensaries where Terre d’Azur operates. What does our action consist of? Our intervention mainly concerns women and men complaining about old and generalized musculoskeletal disorders (“bad everywhere”). These can be related to painful living and working conditions, with inappropriate equipment, and by carrying heavy loads on the head.

When these disorders alone are proven, our protocol consists of :

  • teach the patient simple passive and active mobilization gestures to lift joint blockages.
  • give hygiene and ergonomic advice based on adapted exercises (age, sex, profession…).

To carry out this program, we use inserts with demonstration and practice with the population.

Locomotor disorders

We can improve other musculoskeletal disorders by providing small equipment: orthotics, attestations, crutches and walking frames. To do this, we often try to involve a relative or friend to continue this treatment at home.

We also use a careful prescription of inexpensive and locally available medication (analgesic, anti-inflammatory). However, we explain above all that this medication should not replace ergonomic measures which are more effective in the long term.

At the same time, we identify, by asking questions and with careful examination, other pathologies: high blood pressure, malaria, parasitosis, after-effects of accidents not or badly treated, club feet, sickle cell disease… These situations then require the help of our medical team, which confirms and takes care of these pathologies on site or at the hospital.

The example of Togo

To take the example of the mission in Togo, our collaboration with the physiotherapist of the hospital of Tabligbo proved to be fruitful. It allows us to extend the offer of care on the spot and in continuity with that provided during our visit. It is thus being extended to other hospitals with a rehabilitation service for the follow-up of certain pathologies.

Finally, meetings in small groups or “in the waiting room” (back school) help to raise awareness of these ergonomic and hygiene problems. We are thinking of extending them with an adapted computer support. It seems to us that it is thus possible to modify all these cultural and socially rooted habits in the populations we receive.

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