From 27th December 2011 until 12th January 2012, Suzanne Caragianis and Vanessa Holohan (Physiotherapist) went to Bhutan after enormous preparation and renewed enthusiasm.

Goals for this trip were to:

  • Teach a course on Conservative Hand and Upper Limb Rehabilitation, (Thimphu on 29th and 30th December 2011) and in central Bhutan (Punakha on 5th and 6th January 2012).
  • Provide 18 boxes of donated therapy equipment and splints for backs, knees, wrists and hands and distribute this equipment to the District and Regional Hospitals via the orthopaedic surgeon and therapists attending our courses.
  • Establish a basic hand therapy treatment facility in the Far Eastern Regional Hospital in Mongar.
  • Teach the physiotherapists and physiotherapy technician staff at JDWNR Hospital in Thimphu.
  • Treat inpatient and outpatients at JDWNR Hospital and in Punakha Hospital.
  • Provide training on Neurodynamics and Graded Motor Imagery, (new concepts in pain management and chronic injury).
  • Establish treatment protocols and provide reference material including books and DVD to Mongar and Thimphu hospitals.
  • Discuss further advanced training for orthopaedic surgeons, physiotherapists and orthopaedic and physiotherapy technicians in the future.

We were blessed to have achieved all of these goals with great help from Dr Tshewang Thinley (Orthopaedic Surgeon) and his department, along with Mr Tshering Norbu (Physiotherapist) and Ms Karma Doma (Senior Programs Officer) with the Disability Prevention & Rehabilitation Program, Ministry of Health Department; who funded doctors, nurses, therapists and technicians to attend our courses. Some of the attendees travelled up to three days to get to Thimphu!

Suzanne had the opportunity to meet with Mr Dasho Nima Wangdi (Secretary for the Minister of Health) and Mr Ngawang Dorji from the Royal Government of Bhutan. They were very interested in our work and achievements and were keen to develop a more formal agreement.

We proposed a 'Memorandum of Understanding', which includes future trips by surgeons and therapists for intensive surgery camps, continuing education courses for the therapists and delivery of donated equipment.

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