Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, the leading institute for spinal injury treatment and rehabilitation, conducted a comprehensive training program for wheelchair service providers and rehabilitation professionals to equip them with skills and knowledge on customizing wheelchairs for people with advanced needs.
The main objective of the program was to address the paucity of professionals trained in better wheelchair customization and delivery across the country.
Based on the training module established by World Health Organization (WHO), the seven-day-long ‘Wheelchair Service Training Provision (WSTP) Course-Intermediate Level’ was conducted at Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC) in association with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The training program was attended by 12 participants from across the country. The intermediate level program, which is the WHO’s wheelchair service training package series, focused on addressing the skill gaps to select and provide customized wheelchairs for people who would require additional postural support for sitting. The course was conducted by renowned trainers from ISIC, ICRC and Mobility India
Wheelchairs customized for varying needs of users such as adding cushions and comfort accessories or greater improvisation ability for working people who need greater mobility, can make a lot of difference to the experience of a wheelchair user. Appropriately suitable, well designed and comfortable wheelchairs can go a long way in improving inclusion of wheelchair users in the society.
“Inappropriate use of wheelchairs may lead to secondary complications when it comes to mobility. Undoubtedly, use and maintenance of wheelchairs is a complicated task. To deal with this, WHO in partnership with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has created and developed training packages at different levels. At the Intermediate Level, the significant agenda taken up is to provide appropriate wheelchairs for children who are unable to sit upright independently,” shares Nekram Upadhyay, Head, Department of Assistive Technology, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi.
WHO estimates say that there are more than 70 million people worldwide who require wheelchairs, whereas only 5-15% of people have access to them. People in developing countries often depend on donation of wheelchairs, which in most cases are of poor quality and not suitably modified as per the user environment. According to experts, not only common people but even health professionals in our country are not adequately trained to ensure that every differently-abled person gets a quality wheelchair.
The course involved in-depth theory and practical study of the entire mechanism of wheelchair delivery with live case studies and field demonstrations. WSTP-I is the second part of the WHO wheelchair service training package series and focuses more on addressing the needs of people who have severe difficulties in walking and moving around and also having poor postural control. While developing this training package, special attention was given on the provision of appropriate wheelchairs for children who have poor postural control and are unable to sit upright independently.
“Earlier, in 2015, we had conducted the 5-day-long WSTP-Basic Level training program. To take the professional accreditation of wheelchair delivery mechanism to the next level and further develop the skills and knowledge of personnel involved, the 7-day Intermediate Level training was held this week. The content and training hours associated with this training are formulated as per the guidelines of WHO. With this initiative, we hope to achieve integration of efficient wheelchair service delivery by rehabilitation professionals,” said Nekram Upadhyay
The training program jointly conducted by ISIC and ICRC helped in raising significant awareness and improve competencies of wheelchair service providers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and other rehabilitation professionals. Besides, as many as 8 people were also fitted with customized wheelchairs according to their specific requirements during the training and those wheelchairs given for free of cost.