Ethiopia becomes a member of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists

Ethiopia has become the latest member of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. The Federation is a collection of members and organizations that promote and advance the causes and science of Occupational Therapy.

The recent admission and membership into the WFOT may have a lot to do with the University of Gondar, which recently launched the first ever Occupational Therapy program in the nation. With four highly qualified Msc holders who have studied abroad and returned to serve their institution and country as instructors and specialists, the University of Gondar has officially inaugurated the first occupational therapy department in Ethiopian history. There were only four licensed occupational therapists in the entire nation before to 2020, and none of them had postgraduate degrees. But the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Gondar has drastically changed that.

With over 17 million individuals living with impairments in the country, the number of occupational therapists with degrees from highly regarded universities will surely increase dramatically in the years to come. Now as the nation starts to promote this science and actually cater to its citizens with this new way of treatment others will also have a chance to live a life of well-being with viable options.  The currently trained Occupational Therapists have an immense responsibility to progress this rehabilitation science, but at the same time must endeavor to treat as many vulnerable individuals who need help. However, as the new program at the University of Gondar flourishes, as there are 16 students enrolled currently, more and more specialists will be produced to continue the science and make a difference in the lives of people who really need it.

The World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) began with formal discussions at a meeting of occupational therapists held in England in June 1951, at which there were 28 representatives from various countries. There was a continued discussion in September of the same year at the Congress of the International Society of the Rehabilitation of the Disabled held in Stockholm, Sweden. The Constitution was developed at the 1952 meeting and contained the following initial objectives: to act as the official international organization for the promotion of occupational therapy; to promote international cooperation among occupational therapy associations, therapists, and other allied professional groups; to advance the practice and standards of occupational therapy and to help maintain the ethics and to advance the interests of the profession among others.