The Indian Journal of Occupational Therapy

: 2020  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 35--36

All India occupational therapists' association's initiatives during corona virus disease - 2019 pandemic

Anil K Srivastava1, Lakshmanan Sethuraman2, Neeraj Mishra3,  
1 Deenbandhu Rehabilitation Center, Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Occupational Therapy and Mental Health, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Neurology, GIPMER, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anil K Srivastava
93, Laxmanpuri, Faizabad Road, Lucknow - 226 016, Uttar Pradesh

How to cite this article:
Srivastava AK, Sethuraman L, Mishra N. All India occupational therapists' association's initiatives during corona virus disease - 2019 pandemic.Indian J Occup Ther 2020;52:35-36

How to cite this URL:
Srivastava AK, Sethuraman L, Mishra N. All India occupational therapists' association's initiatives during corona virus disease - 2019 pandemic. Indian J Occup Ther [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 Feb 6 ];52:35-36
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Full Text

We are stunned and so is the whole world due to the severe impact of corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on health and the alarming number of death tolls, with unprecedented increase globally. The world health organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 as a Pandemic on March 11, 2020. The health system worldwide is struggling to cope with the volume of the patients and deaths world over. Unfortunately, there seems to be no answer to effective treatment and or vaccination for this entirely new virus till date, though efforts are in full swing for inventing effective treatment and vaccination in many of the countries, including in India. The worldwide spread of the pandemic has almost disrupted the day-to-day activities of the whole world. People are facing a number of problems, be it food, medicines, masks or sanitizers and employment. The pandemic has grossly overburdened the healthcare infrastructure of even the most developed countries and is expected to cause post-COVID severe global economic recession: An issue of great concern for all. The only tested and proven measure is breaking the chain of spread through social and physical distancing and to achieve this, the long shutdown of the countries are being observed globally.

Indian government response under the potential leadership of Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is fast and impressive to contain community spread, though the first case was reported in Kerala in January 2020. If the statistics continue to show a relatively low infection rate, in relation to our large population, the second highest after China, then India will likely succeed in containing the pandemic.

The most important factor in preventing the spread of the virus locally is to empower the citizens with the right information and taking precautions, as per the advisories being issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India (GoI) and the WHO, which broadly include the social/physical distancing, besides frequently sanitizing/washing hands and strictly avoiding the crowded places.

 The All India Occupational Therapists' Association and Occupational Therapists

The All India Occupational Therapists' Association (AIOTA) is concerned about the good health and well-being of the members, their families, and the community. The key to overcome the challenge is protection and primary prevention. The protection should necessarily be in 3 phases: self protection, family protection, followed with community protection.

Occupational therapists (OTs) should contribute to their local vicinities in the prevention by observing the AIOTA guidelines for intervention under the supervision of State Administrative/Health Authorities or as directed by the GoI. We understand the vital need to access and use infection control measures combined with the need to sustain good physical, psychological, mental health, and stamina during the period of self-quarantine and the lockdown phase. We, as occupational therapy (OT) professionals, recognize the consequences and changes that are occurring in how people access and undertake their occupations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Tele-Health Services

Utilization of tele-health services by OTs is an utmost need of reaching clients. We all should be readily available on the phone, whatsapp, and or e-mail to address the specific queries or apprehensions of the caregivers/clients as and when needed.

OTs are in a strong position to advise people the measures to stay well, to maintain social/physical distance and optimal use of the technology for one's needs. During this period of physical distancing and/or self-quarantine, it is essential to look after mental and emotional well-being as well as physical health considering the age and gender of every patient and their caregivers. It is important for the therapists to educate the parents of the children the need to look for signs of distress, the importance of being in regular connection with the kids, providing adequate information about the situation, need to provide them new routines, and addressing their concerns. Attention needs more focus when it comes to special children.

Therapists can formulate strategies to empower the individuals for their activities of daily living, healthy food including milk and fruits for a good immune system and home-cooked meals, regular physical exercises, talking to family, friends, and neighbors on the phone and social media which is essential to avoid staying still for long. OTs shall take the responsibility of creating awareness about the effective ways to optimize productivity and ergonomic principles when working from home. A good sleep routine is also a must, to stay healthy and develop good immunity, to combat the threat of the coronavirus. Senior citizens with or without underlying medical conditions should be guided to learn technology by the use of the internet, skype, facebook, zoom and twitter, etc., to stay connected with family, friends and the world, necessary to protect their emotional and mental health. It is essential to advise that social/physical-distancing should not be considered as social isolation.

The AIOTA and OT Professionals from all across the country are with the Government in its fight to eradicate the effects of this Pandemic. The executive committee of AIOTA is grateful to the members and OTs from throughout the country, Institutions, and Branches for actively responding to the request of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), GoI for selflessly volunteering their expertise and services to combat the serious challenge of this century. The valued contribution and professional dedication by members, nonmember, and students as Occupational Therapy Corona Warriors toward serving humanity at this crucial time are unique and will be recorded in the history of AIOTA.

As a frontline organization, AIOTA recognizes the need to quickly adapt to the changing scenario by modifying our methods of service delivery, redesigning our practice setups and modes of intervention according to the principles of infection control and social/physical distancing. AIOTA is committed to coming up with practical solutions and guidelines during such crises or as and when required.

The association has prepared a training module, "Occupational Therapy Intervention for COVID-19" for Government of India's Integrated Government Online Training site, AIOTA Website and members of AIOTA. The document with narration is prepared to be used as training for the trainers. This training module has received wide appreciation from World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) officials and members at large. The Academic Council of Occupational Therapy is also in the process of preparing training modules on varied areas of OT intervention, which will be useful for OTs, health-care professionals, caregivers, and all those who are interested. These courses will be made available on the government and also on the AIOTA website by the 2nd week of May.

The Pandemic has also grossly affected the routine academic and administrative activities of AIOTA. The executive committee of AIOTA is likely to postpone the 58th Annual National Conference of AIOTA scheduled in January 2021 at Puducherry, the proposed fellowship program in musculo-skeletal rehabilitation and Ergonomics and many more academic activities planned by the Academic Council of OT during 2020.

The Corona pandemic is a serious threat, to our people in India and hence, we all together must help to lessen the spread by responsibly performing our deeds, to make a big difference to our health, and that of others around in the community at a state, national and global level.