The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL, on the 7th of March 2018, received a delegation of Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy (NSP) led by its president, Dr. Rufa’i Yusuf Ahmed in his office.

Expressing his delight, the Executive Secretary commended the NSP for its passion at ensuring that quality was maintained in the Physiotherapy profession by introducing innovations that would ensure better quality in the delivery of the programme and accountability on the part of the lecturers.

He informed the team that NUC was already in the process of reviewing the entire existing curricula of all the programmes taught in Nigerian Universities and 400 copies of the Curricula had been produced, 2 copies each would be distributed to Vice Chancellors of all Universities to present before the University Senate committees for review and possible amendments to revert to the Commission for final consideration.

He also acknowledged that the Directorate of Academic Planning of the Commission had earlier met with the officials of the Physiotherapy Board and payment had been made for work to start on the development of the curriculum for the proposed Doctorate of Physiotherapy (DPT) programme. It was agreed that the curriculum experts were billed to meet from 19 – 21 of March to produce a BMAS for the programme by the end of the month.

The Executive Secretary advised  members of the Association to fully participate in the review of the current Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPT) programme in order to draw up clear distinctions between the two programmes. He explained that even though the two programmes were similar, except for the focus at 500 and 600 levels on more practical courses, their curriculum must state clearly its difference.

The Curriculum of the DPT should contain sufficient academic as well as practical courses and sent as an addendum to all Universities that offer Physiotherapy to make their input, which would be merged with the curriculum of basic medicals. He said that it was his wish to approve the running of the two programmes without abrogating the BPT as was the case of Pharm D and B. Pharm, if the University meets the requirements through provision of appropriate resources to run the programmes together.

He added that henceforth, the Commission would develop curricula that outlined the courses to be taught as well as a specific learning outcome that should greatly assist the students to research, study and make useful contributions during interactions with their lecturers.

He also promised to call the attention of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation to consider graduates of physiotherapy at the point of employment as the additional year to the programme would affect the condition of service of the worker and put them at a disadvantage over their peers.

In his address, the President, Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy, Dr Rufa’i Yusuf Ahmed informed the Executive Secretary that the World Confederation for Physical Therapy deemed it necessary to introduce the DPT programme into the curriculum of all its member countries, due to the lack of expertise it had observed in service delivery over the years.

He said it was observed that communities in rural areas had no access to the services of physiotherapists at the primary healthcare level, which thwarted the mandate of the health sector to get healthcare delivered to every citizen irrespective of their location.

He further explained that the Bachelor of Physiotherapy curriculum equipped students to treat patients mostly in the less accident prone urban centers, but lacked the patient practical component which could help physiotherapists function in the rural areas where those services were mostly needed to survive.

The president mentioned that the old curriculum did not sufficiently cover the required content and therefore could not equip the physiotherapist with the expertise to identify a problem within his/her scope of practice. Other issues bedeviling the curriculum were in the area of specialties, saying that Physiotherapy with about 8 branches among which included; orthopedic, neurological, pediatric and geriatric physiotherapists, proposed that each specialty should be assessed independently in the new curriculum to give the student a complete assessment.

He stressed that the areas that set DPT apart from BPT were in the areas of easy access to healthcare services, cost reduction, satisfaction on the part of the patient and satisfaction on the part of the physiotherapist.

The NSP team included Prof. Adetoyeje Y. Oyeyemi, Prof. Ganiyu Sokunbi, Dr. Adamu Ahmad Rufa’i, Dr. Sylvester E. Igwe, Dr. Fatai Adeniyi, Dr. Charles I. Ezema and Dr. Uthman O. Anjorin.