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Saudi Arabia

Women physiotherapy grads protest employment hurdles

JEDDAH: Women graduates in the field of physiotherapy in a number of regions in the Kingdom are facing obstacles of employment at specialized centers, despite the fact that many of these centers are in need of qualified staff.

For those appointed, many face the problem of being unable to earn the title that is commensurate with their qualifications, local media has reported.
Rather than being titled “specialists”, they are given the title “technicians,” which they say deprives them of numerous financial and employment benefits.
The issue has prompted many graduates to appeal to authorities to address the problem.
Abrar Al-Amri was quoted as saying that she selected physiotherapy because of the prospects of good employment opportunities, but was shocked to discover challenges to employment once she entered the job market.
“Government hospitals only appoint a specific number of physiotherapists. Some hospitals do not even include a department, although hundreds graduate each year and are ready for employment,” she said.
“Centers and private hospitals do not give physiotherapists their full rights, starting from the title in the work contract as ‘Technician’, instead of ‘Specialist’. This done to reduce the salary and avoid other benefits such as financial allowance if the specialist gets an infection from a patient.”
Nihal Khadrawi said a lack of equipment at centers and hospitals and inadequate understanding or acceptance about physiotherapy among patients are some of the challenges.
Faisal Al-Zahrani, spokesman of the health ministry, was quoted as saying that regulations stipulate that licenses to medical cadres should be based on the professional classification certificate and the professional registration, both of which are issued by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties.
He said these documents determine the profession in various specialties and those who work at health centers should not accept anything less than what has been determined.
Employment in the field of physiotherapy is based on the availability of jobs, be it public or private sector, he added.

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