Snapshot of Displacement
Africa includes Eastern, Middle, Northern, Southern, and Western regions (United Nations, Statistics Division) The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has published the map below to indicate the scope, location, and nature of displacement in Africa in the 2012 Profile.
Africa faces the relentless challenge of crisis situations and protracted displacement. Global Trends 2011 highlights that 4/5ths of displaced people are hosted within developing economies, which can lead to xenophobia and conflict over scarce resources, asylum fatigue, and restrictive practices.
The UNHCR here also notes that South Africa (3 166 practicing occupational therapists) for the third year in a row, had the highest number of applications for asylum amidst the industrialised nations with more than 300 000 applications awaiting decision.
Snapshot of Occupational Therapy
Occupational Therapy Students in Africa (OTSA) is also a vibrant Facebook group reflecting the growth of the profession in Africa!
OOFRAS Inc network is eagerly awaiting the first member from the region!
According to the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) Occupational Therapy Africa Regional Group (OTARG) occupational therapy has a presence in Eastern Africa (Mauritius, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, Rawanda, Zanzibar, Malawi, Ethiopia), Western Africa (Nigeria), Southern Africa (Botswana, South Africa, Nambia).
The photo of OTARG member countries above is from the Occupational Therapy Africa Regional Group (OTARG) website here. Like the OTARG Facebook Page here.
Note that not all of these countries reported numbers of practicing occupational therapists, or are represented in information below from the 2010 WFOT Human Resources Project (data gathered in 2009).
Eastern Africa has reported occupational therapists practicing in Mauritius (17), Kenya (700), Zimbabwe (79), Uganda (109), United Republic of Tanzania (65), Rawanda, Zanzabi, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zambia were not included in the data set.
Middle Africa there is not yet an occupational therapy presence.
Southern Africa is the region with the highest number of practicing occupational therapists in South Africa (3 166), Nambia (33), Botswana was not included in the data set. See the South African Journal of Occuaptional Therapy here.
Western Africa has an occupational therapy association in Nigeria, and OTARG membership of Togo, Sierra Leone, however the numbers practitioners were not included in the data set.
Order the text "Occuaptional Therapy; An African Perspective" here for insights into local practice and to support the work of OTARG whose 2013 Congress will be hosted by Zimbabwe.
Snapshot of legislative context
All countries within OTARG are signatories of the UN Refugee Convention & Protocol: Botswana (1969), Ethiopia (1969), Kenya (1966, 1981), Malawi (1987), Marutiania (1987), Nambia (1995), Nigeria (1967), Rawanda (1980), South Africa (1996), Tanzania (1964, 1968), Togo (1962, 1969), Uganda (1976), Zimbabwe (1981).
This means occupational therapists may engage displaced people professionally, and also have the UN Refugee Convention as a reference point when engaging their community or government.
The Afican Union's African Charter of Human and People's Rights (1986) and it's protocol (2005) reflects international human rights frameworks by protecting the right to asylum, freedom from arbitry detention, mass explusions of foreigners, right to work and people with disabilities. Unique featues include listing duties to uphold human rights, and "people's rights" which refers to people as a group having the right to development and satisfactory environment. October 21 is African Human Rights Day in honour of the "Banjul" charter.
Snapshot of countries not yet with an occupational therapy presence
Eastern Africa (Buruni, Comoros, Dijbouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Madagasca, Malawi, Mayott, Mozambique, Reunion, Rawanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Zambia), Middle Africa (Angola, Camaroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe), Northern Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, Western Sahara), Southern Africa (Botswana, Lesotho, Nambia, Swaziland), Western Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire,Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, LIberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Saint Helena, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo)