Malta is hosting the 12th Mediterranean Congress of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine between the 9th and the 12th November 2017. Malta has hosted numerous international activities in various spheres in the past but it is the first time that Malta hosted an international Rehabilitation Congress.
By participating at this congress, FITA is aiming to help both the experienced and the younger generations of rehabilitation specialists, trainees and allied health professionals, to better understand the many possibilities available through accessible ICT solutions, for individuals who wish to lead a more independent life.
FITA also helps ensure that the range of solutions sourced and implemented by Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (PRM) specialists, can integrate well within education and work environments. We do so by providing consultancy and certification services to organisations and ICT developers, who need to implement accessible ICT solutions.
Striking a balance and promoting compatibility between everyday mainstream ICT solutions and the growing range of assistive technology and medical solutions, is key to the person’s empowerment and independence. These areas are equally important and inter-independent. Ensuring awareness about accessibility both among service providers and the individuals facing adversities caused by disability, is the most sensible and least costly way of implementing a working solution.
On the FITA stand, besides distributing information literature, we displayed educational and awareness videos from the FITA Youtube channel. We also gave live demonstrations of the Reader Pen and Connect12 devices.
We also took the opportunity of visiting the stands of other exhibitors, and gathered information about some of the latest technology products. All this information will be added to the FITA ICT Pool service. Among these were:
- Interesting exoskeleton technology to aid mobility and
- ICT tools that can help people with hearing impairments and the Deaf, to access audio content and/or the information contained with greater ease.
The decision to organise the first Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine congress was taken in Israel. In 1994, Pr. Haim Ring proposed to the Israeli Association of PRM to organise the first Mediterranean Congress in Herzliya of Israel, under his presidency.
The suggestion was approved, and in May 1996 the First Mediterranean Congress of PRM took place in Israel. For the logo, the map of the Mediterranean Basin was adopted, with a dove of peace flying above and the motto of “Rehabilitation without frontiers” underneath. About 500 people participated from 42 countries from all continents, including participants from 11 countries spanning the Mediterranean basin.
As outlined on the event’s website at http://prmcongress2017malta.org/, the hosting of this Congress is the fruit of the efforts that the Physical & Rehabilitation Medicine Assocation has made, with the view that hosting such a Congress in Malta, will continue to bring Rehabilitation Medicine further into the limelight. The Mediterranean Forum of PRM motto of “Rehabilitation without frontiers” is more than ever evident today, with an intense feeling that we must bring all the diversity in the region much closer together than before.
The association also expressed their appreciation for the presence of many Mediterranean countries and those bordering, with special emphasis on those not regularly present in such congresses. The latter’s presence can be not only a point of a greater launch of collaboration of Rehabilitation services between us all in the Mediterranean region irrespective of our different cultures, but also a wonderful occasion of meeting and exchanging our knowledge and experiences.
PRM also known as physiatry or rehabilitation medicine, aims to enhance and restore functional ability and quality of life to those with physical impairments or disabilities affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. A physician having completed training in this field is referred to as a physiatrist. Unlike other medical specialties that focus on a medical “cure,” the goals of the physiatrist are to maximize patients’ independence in activities of daily living and improve quality of life.
PRM physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions associated with disabilities. These might include: cognitive problems, orthopedic anomalies, mobility concerns, bowel and bladder issues, gait disorders, feeding and swallowing problems, communication difficulties, pain, and muscle stiffness or hypotonia. They work collaboratively with neurologists, orthopedists, neurosurgeons, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists, and primary care physicians to look at the “big picture” of improving function, and often create a medical plan for patients requiring this level of support.
PRM is rapidly becoming a dynamic area in the field of Medicine with frequent innovative programmes and ever increasing research. Such innovations in mobility support , augmentative speech, communication tools and environment control, are leading to a rapid improvement in the daily life of those facing what used to be totally disabling conditions.
We wish to thank the FITA team and volunteers who helped us set up the stand and make this experience a success.