Hand in Hand with the South African Society of Physiotherapy

Better health care for all our citizens

Challenged by the persistent inequality in healthcare, the South African Society of Physiotherapy (SASP) has launched a campaign that will, it is hoped, begin to fill the gap.

A disproportionate level of resources inevitably resides in the private sector, which serves the small slice of the population able to afford medical scheme cover (around 16% of South Africans). Can we go some way to meet our country’s healthcare goals simply by caring and sharing? The SASP believes it’s possible. Indeed, the SASP believes it’s inevitable that, in a rapidly-changing and overstretched healthcare sector, the private and public sectors will need to find ways of partnering to meet the country’s needs.

On Movement for Good Health Day 10 May 2019, the organisation is inviting its private sector members to participate in a real feel-good campaign: share some resources with public sector physiotherapy departments in need of a little extra.

The campaign kicked off early with an April visit to kwaNgwanase, in the deep rural area tucked between Swaziland, Mozambique, and the Indian Ocean off Kosi Bay. A team from the SASP took branded yoga mats, smart new crutches, walkers and a selection of much-needed special bandages for amputees and other patients, the team had the pleasure of handing them over to physiotherapists serving in three of the hospitals in this area.

The SASP challenges its private and public sector members to dream big: how can you help one another? What can you, as working physiotherapists, do to close the gap of care between the two sectors?

If you’re in private practice, think of starting a funding campaign in your waiting room; combining adventure challenges (like climbing Kili) with fundraising for a purpose; collecting unused equipment from neighbouring practices for donation. Public sector departments might share knowledge, offering lectures or working days to those interested in understanding the conditions commonly treated in the public sector.

And the public? Of course, donations would be welcome. But think also of practical help you can offer. Fixing treadmills, painting walls, building play areas, all of these things can be great fun to do as a group, and very heart-warming – talk to the SASP about how to arrange such initiatives.

Position statement

Understanding that evidence-based physiotherapy treatment offers better outcomes for patients and cost-efficiencies for medical facilities, the Hand in Hand with the SASP campaign aims to:

  • Stimulate and facilitate public/private partnerships between physiotherapy private practitioners across the country and their colleagues within the public sector;
  • Provide support to public sector physiotherapy services where feasible, utilising private sector resources, whether those be physical resources or human ones;
  • Support the national health goals of the Department of Health;
  • Help to send patients home healthy, able to enjoy quality of life and engage in normal daily activities, and empowered to manage their own health at home.

For more information, or to find a physiotherapist near you, go to www.saphysio.co.za