Newsletter Jan 08 - OTARG NEWSLETTER

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					               The Congress Committee, Zanzibar, September 2007

               OTARG NEWSLETTER
               (Occupational Therapy Africa Regional Group)

                               January 2008
                                  No. 11
Member Countries            Editor                         Office-bearers of OTARG:

Botswana                    Rosemary Crouch                Chairperson:
Kenya                       P.O Box 95657                  Alfred Ramukumba
Malawi                      Grantpark 2051                 Vice Chairperson:
Mauritius                   South Africa                   Brenda Ephraim
Namibia                     Email:   Secretary
Nigeria                                                    Liza Wegner
Rwanda                                                     Treasurer
South Africa                                               Christa Meyer
Tanzania                                                   WFOT Representative to OTARG
Uganda                                                     Julian Kamwesiga
                                                           Student Representative
                                                           Bertha Mbuya

                                                      to have him in this very important position.
                                                      He is an inspiration to all of us!

                                                      To all OTARG members and friends, please
                                                      keep the OT ball rolling in Africa...

                                                      Rosemary Crouch, Editor.

                                                      Report on the 5 Biennial Congress of
                                                      the   Occupational     Therapy African
                                                      Regional Group in Zanzibar, Tanzania
                                                      from 3rd – 7th September 2007.

                                                      The theme of the Congress was “Occupation
                                                      and Culture:
EDITORIAL                                             Affirming Diversity in Occupational Therapy”

It is more than a year since the last OTARG           The Congress took place at the Bwawani
newsletter was published. This year we are            Hotel in Stonetown, on the beautiful island of
going to try to bring out two Newsletters as          Zanzibar.
this will be the main method of                       The congress provided an opportunity to
communication between OTARG Countries                 explore how culture influences the
in a non-Congress year, until the website             understanding of occupations, and its use in
gets up and running.                                  practice. The diversity of occupational
                                                      therapy practice was affirmed by exploring
What a triumph the 5th OTARG Congress in              the different interpretations and applications
Zanzibar       was!     Congratulations     to        of occupations and cultures. There were
Mohammed Sharif, occupational therapist in            three parallel sessions every morning and
Zanzibar and Chairperson of the Steering              workshops in the afternoon. The keynote
Committee of the Congress. Your efforts and           speakers were:
those of your committee members (seen on                   Hanneke van Bruggen, Executive
the front page) will long be remembered as                     Director of ENOTHE from the
furthering the aims of the development of                      Netherlands
the profession of occupational therapy in                  Juli McGruder from Tanzania
Africa. Well done. Your wonderful smile is an              Sarah Mkenda from Tanzania
inspiration to all!                                        Pam Mclaren from South Africa.
There is more to hear about this in the report        120 delegates from 15 countries attended
back from the Congress and the OTARG                  the congress and there were occupational
Meeting below.                                        therapy students present from Tanzania,
                                                      Norway, Kenya and South Africa. A number
It is always difficult as editor to get reports       of Occupational Therapy Assistants also
from the various African countries but I hope         attended the Congress
you will notice a new report from Malawi!
This is a first, and you will notice also that        The    congress     showed     a    distinct
the next OTARG Congress will take place on            improvement in the level of the scientific
the shores of Lake Malawi in 2009 as an               programme and the level of research
invitation from a small group of Malawian             papers. There were accounts of the
occupational therapists. How privileged we            development of new occupational therapy
are to have such a host, but this is how it           programmes and services and the use of
goes in wonderful Africa!                             new activities and techniques. Educational
                                                      programmes and needs were discussed.
Please note the new committee of OTARG                The    workshops     covered    techniques,
elected in Zanzibar. Congratulations to               research and the development of an African
Professor Alfred Ramukumba, re-elected for            occupational therapy model. Jennifer Creek
another term as Chairman. We are so lucky             and Angus McFadyan ran a workshop on

the development of an African occupational                Student    representative, Bertha
therapy publication. Congratulations to the                Mbuya – Tanzania
Scientific Programme Committee steered by                 Newsletter, Rosemary Crouch –
Lana van Niekerk who selected excellent                    South Africa
speakers and papers.
                                                   Items of importance from the Agenda were:
Finances were well organised and covered                 Communication within OTARG by
the costs of the Congress. Not one of the 5                email, the development of a website
OTARG Congresses have ever run at a loss.                  and the continuation of the
This says a lot for the local occupational                 Newsletter.
therapists who are prepared to go that extra             The importance of the relationship
mile and keep costs low. It is however                     between OTARG and WFOT.
stressful for the organisers to strike the                 OTARG is a regional group of
balance between an acceptable, attractive                  WFOT.
venue and one that is cost-effective!                    The finances, which are sound and
                                                           will still be held by Sharon in
The Social events were wonderful as usual,                 Canada.
and the closing dinner was held at a                     The next Congress which will take
beautiful beach resort. Delegates shopped                  place in Malawi in 2009 on the
until they dropped in colourful Stonetown                  shores of Lake Malawi.
and had a chance to eat at lovely                  The chairman closed the meeting by stating
restaurants and to visit the surrounding           that OTARG is more than a Congress
islands.    Many    new     friends   and          organising body now. It has developed to a
acquaintances were made.                           point where it is now more active in
                                                   educational matters including the support of
The Congress ended on a high note with             new training programmes and now it is to
many compliments and positive statements.          become involved in publications.
Much fun was had by all.                           The chairperson concluded with “food for
                                                   thought” in terms of developing bursaries for
The OTARG Biennial General Meeting                 occupational      therapists    to     attend
                                                   congresses. The committee is to work on
This meeting took place during the                 this and also in developing a website.
congress. The following member countries
were represented:                                  Rosemary Crouch
Nigeria                                            NEWS FROM UGANDA
South Africa
Tanzania                                           The Uganda Association of Occupational
Uganda.                                            Therapists (UAOT) is now 11 years old. The
Sharon Brintnell, Executive Treasurer of           occupational therapy family in Uganda has
WFOT, represented WFOT at the meeting.             grown in size and strength over the years.
                                                   The number of OTs now in Uganda is 88
The New Executive of OTARG was elected             and is distributed over the country. This has
as follows:                                        increased the proportion of Ugandans with
     Chairperson, Alfred Ramukumba –              knowledge of occupational therapy services.
         South Africa                              New students now have the knowledge of
     Vice Chairperson, Brenda Ephraim             OT before they join the programme and
         – Tanzania                                other health workers have increased
     Secretary, Lisa Wegner – South               referrals to occupational therapy services.
         Africa                                    UAOT in its annual general meeting early
     Treasurer, Christa Meyer – South             this year constituted the new executive. The
         Africa                                    president is Ms Ndagire Rose, Vice
     WFOT Rep. Julius Kamwesiga –                 president is Mr. Julius Kamwesiga, the
         Uganda                                    Secretary is Mr. Beene Richard and
                                                   treasurer is Mr. Mpango Richard.

In the just ended 5th International OTARG              (Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital). She
congress in Zanzibar, four occupational                was sponsored by Leprosy Guild UK under
therapists from Uganda participated. These             GWEN Gibbs Scholarship.       Thank you
were Sam Ouma, Francis Ekwan, Moses                    Gwen for the great help may God reward
Kiwanuka and Julius Kamwesiga. The                     you in the way he knows best.
number of OTs from Uganda was limited by
the limited sponsorship. Otherwise those               Awareness activities
who attended had good presentations and I
am sure they gained enormous experience                Being a new and unknown profession the
from the congress. Thanks to the sponsor               following activities were done:
who enabled them to attend.                            Special referral forms to the occupational
                                                       therapy/physiotherapy department were
The Occupational Therapy training school is            made
now 13 years old. It’s a three year Diploma             Presentations were done to both
programme. We have formed collaborative                     qualified and student doctors on what
networking with overseas Hospitals and OT                   occupational therapy is.
Training Institutions especially in Europe.             Formation of the stroke team
This involves exchange of students,                     Formation of the albino clinics together
teachers and OTs working in hospitals. The                  with the dermatology clinical officer
exchange programmes have promoted                       Monthly visits to the Utale Leprosarium
sharing of experiences and knowledge that                   where people affected by Leprosy are
in turn improves quality of training and                    re-retrained in self care and productivity
health care services. The exchange of OT                    activities.
teachers, hospital staff and students has
inculcated a cultural, sensitive workforce             Future plans
ready to improve the quality of life of those in        In-service training for clinicians and
dire need of OT services.                                 nurses in all the hospitals in Malawi
                                                        Career talks to secondary school
With the Ugandan government policy of                     students in Malawi
equalization of opportunities and social                Formation of an occupational therapy
inclusion of all citizens, its hopped that OT             association.
development in the country will be promoted.
                                                       Welcome OTARG in 2009 to the Warm
Julius Kamwesiga                                       Heart of Africa.
Delegate Uganda                                   Dorothy Chinguo                   

NEWS FROM MALAWI                                       NEWS FROM MAURITIUS

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY IN MALAWI                         On the 26th of September 2007 nine (9)
                                                       students, who were the first batch of
The profession is new and been unknown                 occupational therapists to be locally trained
since 1960. It was started by expatriates              at the University of Mauritius, were awarded
who worked at Zomba Mental Hospital in                 their degree in Occupational Therapy. More
the1960s. The first Malawian occupational              rewarding, 8 of them are already practising
therapist graduated in 1982 and is based at            full time. 5 of them were recruited by the
Zomba Mental Hospital. At the moment                   Ministry of Health at the start of last month. 2
there are 6 Malawian occupational                      of the newly qualified occupational
therapists.   2 are employed under the                 therapists are employed by NGO’s and there
Ministry of Health and the rest in Non-                are lots of other NGOs who are, little by little
Governmental Organizations.                            looking for the services of an occupational
                                                       therapist. This is a great start for
The writer of this article works at a referral         Occupational Therapy in Mauritius. The long
hospital in the southern part of Malawi

struggle which started long way back has at           NEWS FROM NAMIBIA
last started to pay back. Many persons and
bodies have campaigned hard to                        The Namibian Association of Occupational
launch/implement this Occupational Therapy            Therapist will hold their 16 Annual General
programme for the first time at the University        Meeting on 25 October 2007, where the new
of Mauritius. Still there is a long way to go         EXCO for 2008/9 will be elected. To
but occupational therapy has started at least         celebrate International OT day, we will have
to be recognized.                                     a short introductory First Aid workshop open
 It is up to the new occupational therapists to       to the public. Currently we still need
keep raising the profile of this profession           attendants in order to present the course.
and sensitize decision makers so that
occupational therapy finds its due place in           The most important event of the year 2007
other ministries/sectors in this country.             was the well organised and presented
                                                      workshop on Sensory Modulation by
My personal contribution                              Annemarie Lombard and Ray Anne Cook
One year has elapsed since I first joined the         from South Africa. In conjunction with this
Ministry of Health and I am posted at the             workshop, the NAOT hosted a one-day
only public institution for persons with mental       public presentation by Annemarie Lombard
health problems. I enjoy a wonderful career           on sensory modulation, attended by 40
as an occupational therapist. Most of the             teachers, psychologists, speech therapists,
people around are supportive and this has             parents of children who attend occupational
helped to lessen my apprehension when I               therapy and others.
first joined.
I love to see the spontaneous smiles on the           On the front of OT development, all is
face of the clients I work with and I try to          (unfortunately) very quiet. The Public
bring whatever positive changes I can in              Employment Commission has urged the
their lives. I agree that there are more to be        University of Namibia to undertake a
done: for instance, the set up for a day care         thorough feasibility study before the
centre for the higher level clients who are           University might consider introducing
institutionalized has long been a topic of            occupational as a professional bachelor’s
interest. Shortly the proposal for this               degree. The onus to provide the funds for
strategic plan will be sent to the Minister of        this study lies on the meagre financial
Health and suitable stakeholders. I am keen           shoulders of the NAOT, who has knocked on
to be involved in this project as an                  the doors of ENOTHE Mundus for possible
occupational therapist.                               assistance.
At present occupational therapy service is
provided in 6 public hospitals and a new              The Interim Allied Health Professions
occupational therapy department will soon             Council of Namibia contacted Alfred
be available in a district hospital.                  Tshinetise Ramukumba, head of the
Furthermore there is an opportunity to                Occupational Therapy education programme
explore occupational therapy private practice         at Medunsa University , well known to all of
in Mauritius with a good standard. Training           you, to assist Council with the development
occupational therapy students need not                and introduction of council examinations for
worry about finding work when they qualify.           occupational therapists. Due to election of
My wish is that we, all the occupational              new Councils (the Interim phase has
therapists do not work individually and find          lapsed), this venture has not yet taken off.
ourselves fragmented but work as an
integrated group for our clients and the              The NAOT had once again, a meeting with
development of the profession.                        the Namibian Association of Medical Aids
                                                      Funds (NAMAF) to negotiate tariffs for
Anil Sobhun                                           private practitioners. This time we had the
Occupational Therapy Graduate                         opportunity to promote the profession as
University of Mauritius                               well as to negotiate tariffs, and were positive                                    that the Affordability Sub-Committee lent us
                                                      their ear. The result, we learned was an

increase of 18% effective from 01 January            Coordinating Committee together with Pat
2008 was granted.                                    de Witt and the University of the
                                                     Witwatersrand Occupational Therapy School
The NAOT hopes that the Association its              of Health Sciences as the Scientific
members will be in a better financial position       Committee, assisted by Pretoria University
in order to attend the next OTARG                    and the University of Limpopo, for the
Congress.                                            planning of the next OTARG Congress in
                                                     September 2009. See you there!
Helga Burger, WFOT Delegate                                   Vivyan Alers
                                                     South African OTARG Delegate
NEWS FROM SOUTH AFRICA                               South African second alternate Delegate
                                                     to WFOT
The South African participants in the      
OTARG Congress in Zanzibar have returned
home with interesting stories about their
travels, but most importantly have been very         MESSAGE FROM THE SECRETARY
complimentary about the hospitality, quality
of papers presented and organisation of the          The secretary of OTARG, Lisa Wegner has
Zanzibar congress. A sincere thank you to            a comprehensive list of the participants that
all the people involved that made the                attended the Zanzibar OTARG Congress.
congress so successful, especially the               We would like to encourage as many people
Congress Committee and the Scientific                as possible to join OTARG as this
Committee.                                           strengthens Occupational Therapy in Africa
                                                     and the network between the African
The OTARG Congress is not only about                 countries. The cost for two years is South
gaining knowledge and experience, but also           African rand, R70 which is very worthwhile.
networking and meeting others in the same            This entitles the member to receive the
field of practice. Communication is essential        OTARG Newsletter twice a year and to be
for this, and today E mail is amazing                informed of congresses and other exciting
technology that can connect people instantly         developments.
and easily. An OTARG website is in the               Please contact Lisa Wegner to become a
process of being set up which will also be           member of OTARG on the E mail
informative and connect people from         or mobile phone +27 82
different countries. Each country will be            332 7167
informed of the launch of the website when it
happens. Please also refer to the OTASA
website for information from South Africa
                                                     START SAVING NOW EVERYONE. THE
South Africa proudly congratulates Alfred            2009 CONGRESS IS JUST AROUND THE
Ramukumba for his second term as the                 CORNER!
OTARG president, Christa Meyer as
treasurer, Lisa Wegner as secretary and
Rosemary Crouch as newsletter editor.
Congratulations to all the executive                 RBCrouch January 2008
members from Tanzania and Uganda. This
team will certainly strengthen the
organisation and encourage OTARG to grow
to represent further countries in Africa.

Malawi, OTARG is really looking forward to
coming to your country for the next
South Africa sends encouragement to
Butani Butao and the Malawian Congress