In 1846 in the small Lithuanian town of Birstonas, the therapeutic properties of the local mineral waters were officially confirmed. In April 2012, a group of 100 physiotherapists, haematologists and patients gathered at this picturesque location. But they were not here for a relaxing spa weekend – instead, they had come to attend the first symposium held by the NNHF Lithuania project team.
Organised by Reda and Egidjius of the Lithuanian Patient Association together with haematologist Dr Sonata Trakymiene, the focus of the event was how physiotherapy can be used to benefit patients with haemophilia. Some aspects of haemophilia care in Lithuania are generally at a good level, however, physiotherapy is yet to become a standard part of the multi-disciplinary care offered to patients. “One important issue is that there is a lack of awareness of the benefits of physiotherapy amongst people with haemophilia, and therefore a lack of motivation to participate in it”, says Dr Trakymiene.
To help address this, three international experts – Prof Adly Sabbour, Piet de Kleijn, Natasa Jankovic and from Egypt, the Netherlands and Serbia respectively – together with Dr Sonata (pictured left), led a mix of theoretical and practical sessions at the event.
They were joined by two physiotherapists, Viktorija and Veslava, and one psychologist, Brigita, from Lithuania, who had recently returned from training in Canada funded as part of the NNHF project.
At the beginning of the session Augustas, a member of the patient association said, “I am looking forward to learning more about taking a progressive approach to sport – I don’t want to start doing something too difficult straightaway then fail and become demotivated. My motivation comes from wanting to get fit, and based on the physiotherapy sessions I’ve had so far, knowing I will feel better afterwards.”