It is a great honour to write about the experience of my invited visits to the Armed Forces Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFIRM), Islamabad in 2009, 2014 and 2015 under the leadership of then Commandant General Wahid. I was invited to conduct training and educational workshops/sessions to train and upskill Rehabilitation specialists and young graduates in disability medicine, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, prosthetics and research methodologies; and provide relevant updates in this field. Under my leadership, a 6-member rehabilitation team from the Royal Melbourne Hospital ran a 4-day extensive workshop program, which was attended by over 50 healthcare professionals. The workshops included education/training on different issues, such as: fracture management/bracing; trauma classification; preventative care and disability management; pain management; spasticity care; mobilisation program/precautions; neuro-facilitation techniques; management of contractures and complications of immobility; patient-centred care concepts; diet, falls, pressure care and wound and psychological management. In addition, research methodologies such as literature searches, designing a study (systematic review, controlled and randomized trials and other designs) were discussed. It was a privilege to work with the local rehabilitation physicians and therapists’, who were enthusiastic and committed to evidence-based care. We also discussed the various challenges faced in everyday clinical service provision, education and attitudes/approaches to people with disabilities and the suggested barriers/ facilitators.
I am actively involved in helping and developing P&RM efforts in Pakistan. I attended the first International Rehabilitation Medicine Conference in Islamabad- which was very impressive. I was delighted to be part of the team that set up the vision for rehabilitation and the disability agenda in Pakistan. I have also assisted in the standards of care, accreditation requirements and documentation for Rehabilitation Medicine; and the core curriculum for Rehabilitation trainees in AFIRM. I have mentored a number of medical graduates from AFIRM in rehabilitation medicine here in Melbourne Australia; and supported the integration of research into their clinical careers. Although rehabilitation medicine is still in infancy in Pakistan with limited infrastructure and resources, the future for AFIRM is bright due to excellent medical staff and strong visionary leadership.
I am aware of the excellent work done by the Rehabilitation Physicians in Disaster Management and how they facilitated global awareness and need to incorporate rehabilitation in the acute emergency response in disaster settings. I look forward to collaboration and sharing my experiences/ knowledge with my Pakistani colleagues who are inspiring in their work ethic and to promote evidence-based P&RM in Pakistan for disabled persons. It is great to see many dedicated and talented rehabilitation graduates keen to learn and improve their knowledge and skills in Rehabilitation sciences.
I look forward to my next visit to AFIRM.
Prof Fary Khan MBBS, MD, FAFRM (RACP)
Director of Rehabilitation, Royal Melbourne Hospital
Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne
Adjunct Professor, Disability Inclusive Unit, Nossal Institute of Global Health, &
School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, Monash University
34-54 Poplar Road, Parkville,
Victoria 3052, Australia.