EU and UNDP launch the “School of the physical therapist of the future” training programme

The tailored-made educational course is designed to equip health care professionals to address the growing need for rehabilitation services

March 14, 2024
Photo credit: Oleksandra Hlavatska / UNDP in Ukraine

Ivano-Frankivsk, 15 March 2024 — In a collaborative effort to address the growing need for rehabilitation services in war-affected regions of Ukraine, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the “School of the physical therapist of the future” initiative. 

Recognizing the critical role of qualified physical therapists, the initiative addresses the dual challenge of meeting the rising demand for new specialists while enhancing the professional development of existing ones. As the number of people experiencing war trauma continues to grow, access to timely and professional rehabilitation services is becoming increasingly crucial for their successful recovery.

The first five-day school, held in Ivano-Frankivsk, is the first in a series of planned events. The event brought together 24 physical therapists from Zaporizhzhia, Sumy, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Mykolaiv oblasts. This programme was designed to equip them with the latest knowledge and skills to effectively support the recovery of people impacted by the war.

Led by a team of leading experts in physical therapy and rehabilitation, the programme combined theoretical and practical sessions, covering various vital topics. These included the competencies of a physical therapist, evidence-based practice, Ukraine's rehabilitation system, leadership in rehabilitation, legal and regulatory frameworks, critical and clinical thinking, effective communication, and physical therapy for musculoskeletal disorders.

Stefan Schleuning, Head of Cooperation, European Union Delegation to Ukraine, stressed the significance of EU assistance to Ukraine and of strong partnerships. “Supporting Ukraine to restore and develop human capital is one of the European Union’s  key priorities,” he said. “This initiative is a great example of how we can work together to improve the well-being of people. We want to ensure that people affected by the war have access to high quality rehabilitation services to facilitate their return to normal lives.

Jaco Cilliers, UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine, said that the ongoing war has placed immense strain on Ukraine's health care sector, highlighting the need to strengthen its capacity. “Physical therapists play a key role in the recovery of people affected by war,” he said. “Recognizing this, we at UNDP, together with our international partners, are supporting Ukraine by creating conditions for capacity building. In initiatives like this, we bring together physiotherapists and national rehabilitation experts to share the knowledge and skills needed to deliver high quality care, a crucial step toward a sustainable and inclusive rehabilitation system for Ukraine's long-term recovery."


The school was organized by UNDP in Ukraine, with financial support from the European Union, as a part of the “EU4Recovery – Empowering Communities in Ukraine” (EU4Recovery) project and in partnership with the War Trauma Rehabilitation initiative implemented by the Charitable Foundation “Patients of Ukraine”, with the All-Ukrainian Association of Physical Therapists, Lviv State University of Physical Culture and the Institute of Vertebrology and Rehabilitation.

Media enquiries: Yuliia Samus, UNDP Ukraine Head of Communications; e-mail: