Through a deep-rooted passion for occupational therapy and the desire to assist underserved communities, Robin Famatta Baker, a Liberian-American occupational therapist, is increasingly transforming the delivery of rehabilitation services to needy populations in West Africa.
Baker, 27, is the founder and executive director of GoTHERAPY Inc., a non-profit organization working to improve access to quality rehabilitation services by supporting, educating, and empowering healthcare professionals in developing countries to rehabilitate and revitalize their communities.
The organization, which is currently operating in Liberia and Ghana, utilizes telehealth, local capacity, and international volunteers to advocate for better care for people with disabilities, especially in the underserved communities.
“We also lobby governments and international organizations to develop programs and policies that ensure quality rehabilitative care,” Baker told Face2Face Africa in a recent interview.
Transforming Rehabilitation Services
The idea to start GoTHERAPY was born out of a promise that Baker made to her mother as a child that she would use her knowledge and training to help her brothers and sisters in Liberia and throughout West Africa when the time was right.
Since her mother’s death from breast cancer in 2010, Baker has strived to fulfill that promise and turn her passion for global health and rehabilitation into an organization that inspires other therapists to contribute to an international cause.
Baker’s mother, who relocated to the United States together with her husband prior to the height of the deadly civil war in Liberia, worked as an oncology nursing assistant and spent a lot of her time caring for the sick.
“GoTHERAPY is a tribute to my mother, her legacy, and the sacrifices she made for me to live a life filled with endless opportunities. My hope is to touch the lives of people just as she did and provide children and adults on the continent [Africa] with the resources to live meaningful and purposeful lives,” said Baker.
Officially launched in 2016, GoTHERAPY has completed three service projects thus far in partnership with Cape Coast Teaching Hospital in Cape Coast, Ghana, and SALT Rehabilitation Clinic in Monrovia, Liberia.
They have also participated in home visits and hosting community outreach events across the two West African countries while donating hundreds of supplies and resources to their partnering facilities.
“We have completed over 200 treatment sessions, ranging from children with cerebral palsy, erbs palsy, and club foot, to adults who have suffered strokes, multiple fractures, burns, and lower back pain to name a few,” Baker added.
She also revealed that they are currently developing a telehealth platform to provide mentorship to the rehabilitation staff at their partnering facilities as well as give reliable access to resources to patients and their families.
In March, GoTHERAPY awarded a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy student from Howard University with its first GoTHERAPY Social Justice Scholarship.
The organization, which falls under the 501c3 category, solely depends on donations, sponsorship, and fundraisers to fund its operations.
Baker was born in 1989 in Providence, Rhode Island, and spent most of her childhood growing up in Bethel, North Carolina.
She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology and two years later acquired a Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from Howard University.