Overview and Background

Overview and Background of Occupational Therapy Programme
Department of Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy is a health care profession which provides services to people whose ability to function in daily life has been disrupted and to help the people to do the day-to-day activities that are important and meaningful to their health and well-being through engagement in the valued occupation. Causes may include birth defects, injuries, physical or mental illness. Purposeful activity, therapeutic exercise, special equipment, skills training and environmental modification are used to maximize the person’s ability to attain independence in everyday living.

Occupational therapy is a client-centred health profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. Occupational therapists achieve this outcome by working with people and communities to enhance their ability to engage in the occupations they want to, need to, or are expected to do, or by modifying the occupation or the environment to better support their occupational engagement (WFOT, 2012).

Occupational therapists have a broad education in the medical, social behavioural, psychological, psychosocial and occupational sciences which equips them with the attitudes, skills and knowledge to work collaboratively with people, individually or in groups or communities.

Occupational therapists can work with all people, including those who have an impairment of body structure or function owing to a health condition, or who are restricted in their participation or who are socially excluded owing to their membership of social or cultural minority groups.

Working Areas for Occupational Therapists

Clinical Working Areas of Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapy is practiced in a wide range of public, private and voluntary sector settings, such as, the person’s home environment; schools; workplaces; health centres; supported accommodation; housing for seniors; rehabilitation centres; hospitals; and forensic services. Clients are actively involved in the occupational therapy process. The outcomes are client-driven and diverse and measured in terms of participation, satisfaction derived from occupational participation and / or improvement in occupational performance

History of Occupational Therapy in Bangladesh

In 1971, when the glorious war of liberation came to an end, there was a need to establish a centre for treatment and rehabilitation of wounded freedom fighters, as well as war-affected civilians. At that critical time in 1972 Professor R. J. Garst, an American Orthopedic Surgeon and specialist in the field of rehabilitation, arrived in Bangladesh to assist the Bangladesh Government to find a solution.  In response to these needs in 1973, Prof. Garst started the first School for Occupational Therapy at Rehabilitation Institute and Hospital for the Disable (RIHD) later renamed National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (NITOR).  In the first Batch of Occupational Therapy, three students completed their Bachelor degree in Occupational Therapy in 1976. Unfortunately the course was discontinued. Out of these three graduates, two left Bangladesh after one year, and only Mrs. Josene Ara Begum served the country as an Occupational Therapist until her death in 2000.

In 1995, Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), a non-government organization, restart Occupational Therapy Diploma course in Bangladesh.  Following this, the course was upgraded in 1999 to a B. Sc (Honors) degree course at Bangladesh Health Professions Institute (BHPI), the academic institute of CRP under the Medicine Faculty of the University of Dhaka. The first batch of B. Sc (Honors) in Occupational Therapy students completed their graduation in 2003. The Occupational Therapy course has since been continued and the course was accredited by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) in 2000.

Up to 2019, 294 Occupational Therapists have graduated from the course, and all of them are currently working in various reputable national and international organisations and hospitals, both home and abroad.

Current Situation of Occupational Therapists in Bangladesh

Occupational Therapy Program Aims

  • To provide a framework that allows for the development of core skills in Occupational Therapy.
  • To develop the skills of problem solving and holistic thinking required to enable students to practice Occupational Therapy with limited resources and supervision.
  • To provide opportunity for the development of clinical and reasoning skills, that will enable graduates to practice safely and effectively within a working environment.
  • To encourage questioning, creativity and critical thinking that will enable graduates to develop self-reliance and become constructive contributors within multi-disciplinary teams.
  • To develop a sense of responsibility to the provision and promotion of Occupational Therapy and wider health services in Bangladesh; including undertaking research and training roles and contributing towards education policies of the profession in Bangladesh.
  • To develop values and attitudes consistent with high standards of ethical and professional conduct.
  • To develop management skills to enable graduates to manage themselves, their peers and those under their supervision in an effective and sensitive manner

Name of the Current Occupational Therapy Course(s) 

  • Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy.
  • Diploma in Medical Technology (Occupational Therapy).
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant Course.

Faculty Members

All the students of those programmes are taught by both local and foreign teachers from many specialties and backgrounds. There are 8 permanent Occupational Therapy faculties who are expert in this aspect and provide teaching for the students. Among them, Two are Associate Professors, One is Assistant Professor and Five are Lecturers and others specialist medical science teachers for medical science subjects.

Graduate students of Occupational Therapy attended 48thconvocation of University of Dhaka

Contact us

Department of Occupational Therapy

Bangladesh Health Professions Institute (BHPI)

CRP, Savar, Dhaka-1343.

Phone no: +8801730059646

Email: ot-bhpi@crp-bangladesh.org