Recently, Mastercard Foundation Scholars project team members from Queen’s University and the University of Gondar gained some much-needed insight on Occupational Therapy in the form of a conference that took place in Kigali. Team members Ms. Sarah Matovu (Occupational Therapist service provider, UoG) and Ms. Jasmine Montagnese (MCF Occupational Therapy Program Coordinator, Queens University) traveled to Rwanda to attend a conference centered on the beneficial factors of Occupational Therapy.
According to the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, Occupational therapy is a client-centered health profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life.
With that in mind the 11th Occupational Therapy African Regional group congress took place in Kigali, Rwanda with the main theme, “Giving Meaning back to life; Occupational Therapy at the Center.” The congress had delegates from the following countries; South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana, Namibia, USA, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Spain, France, Zimbabwe, UK, Kenya, Tanzania, Belgium, Lesotho and Canada.
The Mastercard Scholars Program at the University of Gondar, which has two parts, which encapsulates the entire program focuses on giving educational opportunities to talented people with disabilities and disadvantages (which would later see them turn into transformative leaders) and focuses on establishing an Occupational Therapy hub in Ethiopia. The latter will try to create an Occupational Therapy curriculum at the University of Gondar and will bring new skills and expertise to this East African Country.
Ms. Sarah Matovu, who is originally from Uganda, is a Professional Occupational Therapist who has joined UoGs Mastercard Scholars Program Office and is setting the path for future Occupational Therapist by spreading awareness on this up and coming discipline.
Sarah attended the conference and presented a power point presentation highlighting OT in an Ethiopian context. “I attended the congress with Jasmine Montagnese from Queens University and we presented on, curriculum development initiatives for a new Occupational Therapy program at the University of Gondar Ethiopia,” shared Sarah.
Her presentation focused on the process of curriculum development, which consisted of; bench marking, needs assessment and OT service provision.
Just some of the highlights of the International Congress included deliberating on clinical guidelines for practices in Africa, World Federation of Occupational Therapist on setting up OT services, brainstorming minimum standards requirements and pushing for contextually relevant Occupational Therapy services.
Samuel Malede| Public & International Relations Directorate