NEWS FROM INDIA
CENTRAL COUNCIL OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY & NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR ALLIED AND HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONS BILL-2021
28th March 2021 marked the beginning of a new era for Occupational Therapy professionals of India. This date would be inked forever in the archives of professional history because the long awaited dream of Occupational Therapy professionals of the country has now come to a reality. This day marked the first major step towards professional recognition, autonomy and independence for all those who had been dreaming to get a national regulatory body for more than 4 decades. On this day the “The National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Act, 2021” came into existence. The Act recognizes Occupational Therapy as an Independent profession and as a recognized category of Healthcare Profession.
Functions of the Commission: The Commission will perform the following functions with regard to Allied and Healthcare professionals: (i) framing policies and standards for regulating education and practice, (ii) creating and maintaining an online Central Register of all registered professionals, (iii) providing basic standards of education, courses, curriculum, staff qualifications, examination, training, maximum fee payable for various categories, and (iv) providing for a uniform entrance and exit examination, among others.
Definition of Occupational Therapy Professional in the Act
‘Occupational Therapy Professional is a person who delivers client-centered services concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life, which includes professionals such as occupational therapists who achieve this outcome by working with people and communities to enhance their ability to engage in the occupations they are expected to do, or by modifying the occupation or the environment to better support their occupational engagement. The Occupational Therapist can practice independently or as a part of a multi-disciplinary team and has a minimum qualification of baccalaureate degree’.
The definition itself opens up a very important and one of the most sought after demands of Occupational Therapy Professionals in India; the authority to practice independently. Time and again there were questions related to the autonomy in practice of occupational therapy.
It indeed is a historical achievement for which AIOTA has been working with dedication since last about three decades. All India Occupational Therapists Association (AIOTA) has been the flag bearer of Occupational Therapy in India since the time of its inception. Fighting against all odds, and with the immense support of all its members, AIOTA has always been championing the cause of occupational therapists of the country and acted as a bridge between the professionals and the government authorities.
Covid-19 Pandemic has given opportunity to organize the 58th Annual National Conference of All India Occupational Therapists’ Association as the first-ever Virtual Conference - OTICON 2021 on March 6 & 7, 2021. Theme of this event was ‘Responding to Challenges in Pandemic: Exploring New Horizons in Occupational Therapy’. Galaxy of national and international speakers contributed emphatically to make it an historical event of AIOTA. In absence of President AIOTA Dr. Anil Srivastava, Vice President Dr. S.K. Meena delivered welcome address. WFOT President Marilyn Pattison delivered Key Note Address with the title -Opportunities for Occupational Therapy Service Provision in the “New Normal”. Guest and Faculty talks from Kit Sinclair (Hong Kong), Ritchard Ledgerd (UK), Karen Jacobs (USA), Denise Donica (USA), Maude Le Roux (USA), Bhommiah Dasari (UK) and Harsh Vardhan (New Zealand) were of high educational standards and applauded by the participating delegates. Dr. Jyothika Bijlani (Mumbai) was the Organizing Secretary and Dr. Lakshmnanan Sethuraman (Bangalore) was the Chairman of Scientific Program Committee of this superbly organized virtual OTICON2021. oral papers (40), innovative technology exhibits (3), mini-movies (5) were presented by the member delegates in the conference. Eight Occupational Therapy Colleges from India participated in scientific events organized for the Students.
COTE ORGANIZED BY ACADEMIC COUNCIL OF OT OF AIOTA
Feb. 13th 2021: International chapter of AIOTA in Collaboration with AIOTA organized webinar in collaboration with Academic Council of Occupational Therapy of AIOTA on “Occupational Therapy: The integral part of Virtual Care during Coronavirus Pandemic” Speaker: Dr Vijay Suple (Canada), Convener, International Chapter of AIOTA
March 5th 2021: Preconference COTE on the theme: "Breaking through the OT Practice Challenges”
- Dr. Atul Jaiswal , (Canada) The Topic was : “Role of Occupational Therapy in Rehabilitation of Individuals with Concurrent Hearing and Vision Impairment”
- Dr. Namrata Grampurohit, (USA). Topic: “Computer Adaptive Testing in Occupational Therapy: Innovative Assessments for Tele rehab.”
It was followed by Panel Discussion on the Topic: ‘Skills, Challenges and OT Practices’
April 17th 2021: International Chapter of AIOTA in Collaboration with AIOTA organized webinar in collaboration with Academic Council of Occupational Therapy of AIOTA on ‘Understanding Dementia’. Resource Faculty was Dr. Gazala Makda (UK).