Earlier this year, we supported Karma Phuntsho and Karma Wangchuk, a physiotherapist and physio technician respectively, from the Jigme Dorji National Referral Hospital in Thimphu, to attend a conference on using assistive technology to help individuals with disabilities. Participants included experts in the field of Assistive Technology (AT), rehabilitation professionals, engineers, software and app developers for persons with disabilities, and entrepreneurs.
The Physiotherapy Department these professionals come from at the National Referral Hospital works to provide clinical and counseling services for children with disabilities. In that vein, they are also responsible for procuring and fitting assistive products for those in need, such as wheelchairs and crutches, free of cost. After attending this conference, the department plans to soon expand its services to establish an Assistive Technology (AT) Centre at the hospital in order to help develop a national AT Centre program for all of Bhutan. By participating, Karma Phuntsho and Karma Wangchuk feel they are better equipped to assist their department in making these improvements a reality.
As a follow up, this October 2019, we here at the Bhutan Foundation plan to carry out an additional training on AAC (Augmentive and Alternative Communication) devices—especially for children with cerebral palsy- for all physiotherapists and physio technicians in the country!