Masters in Physiotherapy graduate, Ms Joan Pather, is congratulated by her daughter.

Mother-Daughter Duo Graduate

A mother and daughter shared pride in each other when they graduated together at UKZN.

Mrs Joan Pather received a Master’s degree in Physiotherapy while her daughter, Ms Esther Ophelia Pather, was awarded a BCom degree.

Joan, who is passionate about working among people living with disabilities, decided to undertake a Master’s in Physiotherapy degree in February last year. Her research explored the subject: Perceptions of Physiotherapists on Disability: Awareness and Health Promotion.

‘I worked tirelessly to complete my degree in a year,’ she said.

Esther completed BCom – General Degree at the College of Law and Management Studies, majoring in Marketing and Human Resource Management. She is currently pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and Supply Chain Management.

Said Joan: ‘The lack of effective accommodation and integration of people living with disabilities in the community raises the need for rehabilitation professionals such as physiotherapists to deliver disability awareness programmes, with the aim being to reduce environmental and attitudinal barriers that exist in their communities.’

Her study found that it was essential to address barriers to disability awareness programmes and to advocate for disability issues that pose environmental and attitudinal barriers to access in all areas of society.

‘Access to healthcare is hindered by a lack of understanding and subsequent negative behaviour including the stigmatisation of people with disabilities,’ said Joan.

She said it was important for rehabilitation professionals to offer comprehensive and culturally sensitive disability awareness programmes to communities in order to influence attitudes and behaviour toward people with disabilities.

She is currently the Head of the Physiotherapy Department at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Phoenix.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini