Purpose: This study describes a cross-sectional assessment of infrastructure, human resources, and types of rehabilitation interventions provided in a sample of healthcare facilities in Ghana. The objectives were to (a) develop and pilot a questionnaire assessing rehabilitation capacity in LMICs, and (b) provide initial data regarding available rehabilitation care in rural Ghana.
Methods: Data was collected from a sample of rehabilitation workers at 9 facilities, comprised of 5 regional and 4 district hospitals, located in seven of the ten geographical regions of Ghana. Participants completed a modified version of the World Health Organisation's Tool for Situational Analysis to Assess Emergency and Essential Surgical Care, adapted to reflect core indicators of rehabilitation infrastructure. Participating facilities were mailed questionnaires and agreed to subsequent site visits from the first author.
Results: There were several limitations associated with basic rehabilitation infrastructure. Consistent with previous research, significant human resources limitations were observed as hospital-based rehabilitation services were primarily rendered by 20 physiotherapists and 21 physiotherapy assistants across the 9 participating sites. No rehabilitation physicians were identified at any of the surveyed facilities. With regard to therapeutic interventions, management of musculoskeletal impairments was generally consistent with current evidence- based practices, whereas rehabilitative approaches for neurologic conditions were limited to physical rather than sensory-motor modalities.
Conclusions: For the first time there is study data which details the rehabilitation infrastructure, human resources, and interventions in Ghana. This study furthers the field through the adaptation and initial piloting of a rehabilitation assessment instrument that can be used in LMIC contexts.
Limitations: The questionnaire used for the study was modified from the questionnaire for assessing surgical care in resource poor countries, and has not yet been validated. Since the study was conducted in a convenience sample of rehabilitation/physiotherapy centres in Ghana, generalisability may be limited.