The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program office at the University of Gondar organized a sensitization workshop today on February 21, 2022. The focus of the event was to promote the science and field of Occupational Therapy to incoming freshmen who have not yet chosen their desired academic path. The freshmen who numbered in the hundreds came out and gathered in Tewodros Campus cafeteria to receive much needed information on the field.
Occupational therapy is a profession within healthcare. It is the use of assessment and intervention to develop, recover, or maintain the meaningful activities, or occupations, of individuals, groups, or communities. Occupational Therapy is a rehabilitation science that is fairly new to the country of Ethiopia. Before 2020, in the whole nation, there were less the four trained occupational therapist and within this low number there were no degree holders in the field. The Mastercard Foundation’s Scholars program at UoG has changed that drastically though.
The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program for the past five years has been able to teach and educate its staff members at Queens University Canada, one of the top Universities in the world. As early as last year the number of Occupational Therapist with degrees from highly accredited institutions has soared creating a new curiosity for the field for many who see it as a viable path for its over 17 million people with disabilities in the country.
In addition to this the newly graduated batch of Occupational Therapist are undertaking the monumental task of opening the country’s first ever Occupational Therapy department. In doing so, in the coming months, it sets to inaugurate the department with a fully functional lab and equipment to match.
Mr. Zelalem Desalegn who is a recent graduate from Queens University’s Occupational Therapy Program, and who is the first department head of the new program, gave a PowerPoint presentation to prospective freshmen students. He highlighted the pros of the new field and shared that the future is bright for the department because of the many upsides that come with a new and fresh program.
Moving forward the freshmen University students will be tasked with choosing their career path which ultimately starts with the selection of their academic discipline. This is no easy task.
Nonetheless to smoothen this milestone the Deliveroloy unit of the University also held a presentation focusing on how to choose academic discipline which gave much needed insight to the freshmen students. Assistant Professor, and career Center coordinator, Daniel Worku led the presentation and created an impactful lesson that resonated with the audience. “People should choose their degree path not because of where friends end up or other outside factors, but should ultimately decide due to a number of points” shared Daniel. Daniel detailed those aspects such as interest, abilities, passion, values and considering the future should all be put into consideration before choosing career paths.
The opening of the new department is but one large step towards giving people of Ethiopia new opportunities to have quality treatment for their illnesses, disabilities, injuries and pain. With this Ethiopians everywhere will be able to focus on the things that matter most which undoubtedly include their health and well-being.