Content » Vol 51, Issue 11

Special report

Evaluating a global health partnership rehabilitation training programme in Madagascar

Helen N. Locke, Simone Doctors, Irene Randriamampianina, M. Anne Chamberlain, Rory J. O’Connor
Rehabilitation Medicine, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, United Kingdom. E-mail: helen.locke@gmail.com
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2621

Abstract

Objective: Rehabilitation services play an important role in optimizing functional ability and societal integration for people with disabilities. The Madagascar Rehabilitation Programme (2011–2013) resulted from a global training partnership and led to 8 doctors achieving a university diploma in rehabilitation medicine. This paper describes a 2014 evaluation of the programme methods, results and learning points.
Methods: A combination of qualitative methods was used for the evaluation, based on a Theory of Change model, with informants from Madagascar and the UK.
Results: Malagasy trainees and UK volunteers gained new theoretical knowledge and practical skills. For Madagascar, it led to changes in working practice and the formation of a national rehabilitation association. Key to its success was the strong collaboration between Malagasy and UK professionals, with support from the University and Ministry of Health in Madagascar, and the UK partners. Having a clear common vision ensured the programme met the needs of the Malagasy clinicians.
Conclusion: Rehabilitation is increasingly recognized as an important focus for international development. Successful rehabilitation training programmes can be achieved at modest costs with global health partnerships. The combination of factors that enabled this programme to be a success is reproducible in other contexts.

Lay Abstract

Rehabilitation services play an important role in helping people with disabilities to participate fully in everyday life. In Madagascar, a training programme in rehabilitation medicine was run jointly by partners in Madagascar and the UK from 2011 to 2013. This led to 8 doctors achieving a university diploma in rehabilitation medicine. This paper describes a 2014 evaluation of the programme. Trainees gained new knowledge and practical skills, leading to significant lasting improvements to rehabilitation services. A national association of rehabilitation professionals was formed. UK volunteers also benefited from the experience, gaining skills relevant to their current professional roles. A clear vision and strong working partnerships between the 2 countries was crucial to this success. Rehabilitation is increasingly recognized as an important focus for international development. Successful rehabilitation training programmes can be achieved at low cost with global health partnerships, as described here. These learning points are applicable to other contexts.

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