All India Occupational therapists’ association (AIOTA) President Dr. Anil Srivastava today urged Government to include Occupational Therapy (OT) in key policies such as the National Health Policy, Rural Health program, Clinical Establishment Act, National Education Policy in order to restrain the migration of qualified Occupational therapists to overseas.
Addressing a press conference here today, Dr. Anil K Srivastava said that OT as a profession lacks scope for development in India due to poor social and economic awareness, despite it plays an integral role in the field of modern healthcare.
Speaking about the multifaceted issues faced by occupational therapists across the country, Dr. Srivastava said, “There is not enough awareness about occupational therapy in India which restricts the consumers of this service. There is a dire need for a central council for occupational therapy for standardization of practice parameters, educational policies and to prevent all kinds of fraudulent activities.” He informed that currently, there are approximately 45,000 qualified occupational therapists in India and around 2.5 lakh patients are handled by OTs in India per day. However, more than 25-30% of them have migrated to overseas countries owing to inadequate lucrative opportunities in both government and private sector.
He also added that lack of occupational therapy colleges, exorbitant fees in private colleges, inconsistent educational standards in this field, negligible presence of occupational therapy departments in hospitals are few of the other issues faced by the occupational therapists in India and AIOTA is constantly following up with the Government regarding the same.
In an initiative to create awareness about the OTs, AIOTA resorted to a nationwide campaign including a 2-km walkathon and street plays in the premises of G.S. Medical College and K.E.M. Hospital today. This event saw participation of around 500 people including AIOTA officials, along with occupational therapists, students & staff OT colleges of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai & few from out of Mumbai.
The OT India Month-2019 began on October 27th on the occasion of World OT Day and is being celebrated as a professional festival with great enthusiasm. The month-long awareness drive also included various other activities such as Seminars, panel discussions, poster presentation, awareness rallies, street plays, camps and more. Almost all States / cities in India through institutions, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and State Branches organize awareness program during OT India Month.Providing equal opportunity to persons with disabilities to participate in all aspects of life and live independently is one of the significant areas of OT Practice being promoted by AIOTA.