In September 2010 Steffi Rettenmeier started the project “Physiotherapy in Bangladesh” at the NGO “Mati” in Mymensingh. Since then, many physiotherapists, such as Pia Wihler, have established the project on-site in the long term. A mixed group of patients consisting of children and adults has been created. Day-care centers and patients are regularly visited at home or treated during regular consultation hours. The therapy is usually the only chance of treatment for patients, most of whom come from poor backgrounds.
An attractive and fulfilling task awaits you there as a sport- and physiotherapist. In addition to cultural differences and therapeutic challenges, you will encounter great gratitude, satisfaction, and hospitality. Among the illnesses are paraplegia, back, and stroke patients as well as patients with infantile cerebral palsy. The basic idea behind the therapy is to create sustainability in the form of personal initiative and help for self-help.
In many developing countries, physiotherapy is poorly understood and therefore lacks the recognition, funding, and resources to be utilized effectively. Bangladesh is no exception to this.
There is a severe shortage of physiotherapists to serve the huge population of Bangladesh. Only an estimated 2 thousand physiotherapists exist in Bangladesh today (a population of around 170 million). This estimate is based on the number of graduates reported since the 1990s. Ironically, the employment opportunities for these physiotherapists are very limited. Many graduates set up private practices and few find work in private hospitals, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), or seek employment abroad. As the profession has no formal register, no exact figures currently exist on how many of these graduates are currently practicing as physiotherapists.