New President for SA Society of Physiotherapy

Lecturer Mr Rogier Van Bever Donker has been appointed President of the South African Society of Physiotherapy (SASP).

SASP is a voluntary professional membership organisation committed to equal opportunities and inclusivity, striving to support the demographic profile of South Africa in terms of race and gender. It is also a non-profit organisation and a public benefit organisation that assists the Government with social and development needs of the country.

‘This is a very exciting development in my career!’ said an excited Van Bever Donker. ‘I am very passionate about transformation in health care as well as health education and as SASP president I am able to push harder in those areas. With the NHI on the horizon with the aim to provide universal health coverage (UHC) to all South Africans, it is an exciting time to be involved!’

SASP provides a structure within which the needs of its members are met. It strives to ensure the quality of physiotherapy services to people throughout South Africa. It does not discriminate on grounds of race, colour, creed, national origins, social status or gender in the practice of physiotherapy or in the administration of its organisation. It also safeguards the welfare of its members, making representation against any form of discrimination against its members. It also acts as a planning, development and information resource for members, to other health professions, to health planners at all levels of government and in the private sector, and to the general public.

It took Van Bever Donker more than a year to make the decision to take over as president. ‘It is a huge responsibility, with thousands of physiotherapists (more than 65% of all physiotherapists in the country) looking for strong leadership. The NEC of the SASP is a strong team and without it not much can be achieved. I am very proud to be a part of such a dedicated, hard-working and dynamic team,’ he said.

Van Bever Donker’s new position entails a lot of travel around the country to attend meetings with various stakeholders including the Department of Health, Council of Medical Schemes, various governmental portfolios as well as regular trips to visit provinces and assist with issues physiotherapists may have on the ground.

‘Strategically I accepted the position in order to further drive the transformation of our wonderful profession, not only in demographics but also in terms of access to physiotherapy and rehabilitation services in general,’ he said.

His areas of interest include neuromusculoskeletal physiotherapy as well as interdisciplinary pain management.

Van Bever Donker says his family keeps him going, ‘I know it sounds like a cliché but beyond the personal side of things, I want to play an active role in securing a solid, safe and happy future for my children. Being involved at this level in society is a part of ensuring that future.’

Married with two children, he is passionate about physiotherapy and how the public can benefit from the holistic manner in which physiotherapists assist people.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini