Categorized | Press Release

Boosting mobility, well-being of DSWD 7’s ortho clients through accessible in-house PT services

As part of the mission of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD’s) to promote human and social development, the Department has committed to effectively promote social protection programs and services to vulnerable sectors of the society, wherein one of the many human development programs of DSWD focuses on the significant rehabilitation of physically and mentally disabled individuals in the community for effective social functioning.

Maricel Talledo, 35, orthopedically impaired and currently enrolled in Commercial Cooking class at Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center (AVRC) II of DSWD-7 in Labangon, Cebu City, undergoes physical therapy session thrice a week in the in-house PT services in the center.

Relative to this, the DSWD Field Office VII by virtue of Republic Act 1159 of 1954 has established a vocational rehabilitation center on September 30, 1974 to serve persons with disabilities (PWDs), which offers a comprehensive vocational recovery program to address the multi-faceted problems of persons with disabilities. The Department’s Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center (AVRC) II’s package of services is designed to respond effectively and efficiently to the social, emotional psychological, physical, vocational and livelihood needs of the enrolled center clients who usually belong to the marginalized sectors and are deprived of health services.

“These vulnerable sectors of our society are the ones prone to damaging criticisms from the public that would erode their self-esteem and self-worth. Sadly, most of them would believe that are incompetent in the society. Now, this has become the most challenging part of the center – to lift them from wallowing in self-pity,” expressed Ms. Eutilla Tahanlangit, AVRC II Center Head.

Throughout the center’s operation, the orthopedically-impaired persons such as amputees, stroke and polio survivors, and those with congenital bone deformities have consistently ranked second highest to the visually-impaired clients in terms of proportion seeking assistance from the center, which has an average quantity of 37.56% from 1998-2018.

The center has a comprehensive vocational rehabilitation program and provides varied services addressing to various needs of PWD, it however lacks technical expertise and financial capacity to provide for the physical restoration and rehabilitation of the orthopedically impaired specifically the amputees, stroke and polio survivors, whose achievement of rehabilitation is largely dependent on their mobility and good physical functioning.

Thus, the AVRC II with the partnership of Cebu Doctor’s University (CDU) has established an in-house physical therapy services in the center for free to restore and regain maximum body functioning and make accessible affordable mobility aids and physical rehabilitation treatments to indigent orthopedically-impaired clients, which was eventually opened to indigent walk-in clients as well. In this in-house physical therapy (PT) services, the AVRC II basically provides a room as PT unit, light, water, and maintenance of the facility while the CDU provides all the necessary equipment, supplies and materials, a full-time clinical instructor who closely supervise the PT interns of CDU that serves as the manpower for the PT sessions of the clients.

The project has positively impacted a total of 2,390 lives of the orthopedically impaired clients of the centers since 1998 up to the present, wherein 94% of them has gained independence in movement, 99% of them have also increased their self-esteem and gained confidence in socializing people around them, while 90% have already joined organizations or community activities and 82% have already been placed in an employment helping in the augmentation of their family income.

Dakong natabang sa akoa ang physical therapy kay naka anam-anam nako og tarong og lakaw. Lahi ra jud sauna kumpara karon. Naay dakong kausaban sa akong panglawas (The physical therapy was a great help to me because I have gradually relearned waking on my own. It’s really different compared before. There is a great change in my health),” said a 64-year-old male ortho client in Calape, Bohol who previously had a difficulty in walking.

This improved physical mobility of the clients has improved their self-image and boosted their self-esteems that eventually lead to their change of attitude from being easily controlled by their disability to empowered individuals finishing vocational trainings helpful in gaining employment.

The main goal of the center to promote human resource development is indeed manifested in this vocational rehabilitation program which enables the served-clients to improve their social and economic competences that are helpful in molding them as dynamic members of the community.

Although, it is a free-of-service, it does not compromise the quality of service that it provides to its clients. It guarantees the same good provision to its ortho clients comparable to services in private hospitals.

Parehas ra ang serbisyong among nadawat diri sa AVRC ug sa kadtong unang therapy sa pribadong ospital ug home service (We received the same services in AVRC as that in the private hospitals or those who do home services),” another ortho-client expressed.

Now, to embody the official hashtag of the department, the #DSWDMayMalasakit, this free-of-charge services has been opened to indigent walk-in clients who are also stroke survivors, senior citizens and individual who suffer from serious physical injuries needing physical therapy services.

“The popularity of the in-house PT services of AVRC II has already reached the physiatrists from the government and private hospitals. These professionals usually inform their indigent patients on the existing facility so that they can avail the services for free. For example, Dr. Barcenas, volunteer physiatrist of AVRC II advises his patients to have a consultation check-up at the center during his schedule in the center for free instead of going to Cebu Doctors’ Hospital in which each client is required to pay P500 for consultation fee,” said, Ms. Eutilla Tahanlangit, AVRC II Center Head.

It has been observed by the AVRC that the mobility-impaired clients of the center significantly need this physical therapy service as a first-level intervention, which focuses on their mobility services important to sustain their vocational training in AVRC II.

This in-house Physical Therapy service has been continuously provided to the AVRC enrolled and walk-in clients as a strategic exemplification of DSWD’s goal to empower its clients through maximizing residual capacities of persons with disabilities and achieve social and economic development. ###

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