Prince’s Government initiative to create first occupational therapy training programme in Morocco

Marie Felix, Project manager © DR

Last week the Prince’s Government, represented by the Department of International Cooperation’s Morocco Coordinator, attended the first day of classes for the first students enrolled in the Occupational Therapy programme offered by the Instituts Supérieurs des Professions Infirmières et Techniques de Santé (ISPIST, Higher Institutes for Nursing and Health Careers) in Rabat. Representatives from Morocco’s Ministry of Health were also in attendance. The project was initiated by the Monaco Government.

In 2009, a study carried out by Handicap International showed that occupational therapy was completely non-existent in Morocco. Yet this profession, which complements the other health-related roles that do exist in Morocco, is critical in helping people with disabilities to achieve independence and social integration in their daily lives.

Concerned by this situation, the Prince’s Government, as part of its international development aid policy pursued through the Department of International Cooperation, sent an international volunteer – an occupational therapist by profession – to the country in 2013. Following this evaluation mission, it was deemed necessary to establish an occupational therapy training programme in the country. Having also been alerted by the public authorities and civil society, in 2016 the Moroccan Ministry of Health decided to establish a national action plan, Santé-Handicap 2015–2021 (Health-Disability 2015–2021). Creating the occupational therapy programme was one of the priorities of this plan.

A multidisciplinary team bringing together officials from the Moroccan Ministry of Health, the ISPIST, and several other international institutions was created and worked to achieve the launch of this new training programme starting in autumn 2017.

The first class of students, who have decided to devote themselves professionally to protecting the rights of people with disabilities and promoting their integration into society, represents a step forward for the Prince’s Government, which has always paid particular attention to people with disabilities.