In rehabilitation service department of Belau National Hospital, respiratory therapy, a new rehabilitation skill for the department has been introduced by Ms. Kobayashi Kaoru, JICA Volunteer. Kobayashi who has more than 30 years of experience as a physiotherapist, has been working for the department since February 2022 for two years based on the official request from the Hospital. One of her important activities as a volunteer is to transfer the knowledge and skills about the respiratory therapy to her colleagues.

Kobayashi says “Respiratory therapy is an important approach to improve recovery of not only patients with respiratory problems but also patients with any kind of sickness. Many patients practice Chest Breathing which is shallow and fast breathing using the muscles of the neck and shoulders. However, Chest Breathing is easy to get tired, deteriorates oxygen intake efficiency, and shortness of breath occurs as a result. This shortness of breath causes even shallower and faster breathing, which makes it worse and reduces the work of the lungs. In order to widen the trachea and reduce shortness of breath, it is necessary to practice Pursed Lip Breathing and Abdominal Breathing, which are efficient methods to breathe.”

Now, she is providing the lectures to her colleagues, and the knowledge and skill are in the stage of being practiced in the department gradually. In addition to the respiratory therapy, Kobayashi is also trying to share her knowledge for elderly care to the colleagues as she has a long experience to work for nursing homes in Japan. She is thinking to introduce independence-supportive care which has been a very important skill in aged countries like Japan, and will be useful also in Palau in the near future.

Mr. Nolan Jason, the Manager of the Rehabilitation Services says “We are truly fortunate and grateful to have Ms. Kobayashi as a member of our rehab team.  Having a senior JICA volunteer with extensive knowledge and expertise in physiotherapy and especially respiratory therapy, we can now expand and add to our list of therapeutic services to include specialized respiratory care.  With the onset of COVID19 and now recent surge in number of people infected from newer strains of the virus, we are preparing our department to provide new services as a component to the overall healthcare system for patients who need respiratory care. 

This year, JICA volunteer program in Palau commemorates 25 years of its history. During the quarter century, more than 290 volunteers have worked and contributed not only to socio economic development of Palau, but also to mutual understanding between both countries through their grassroots activities. The cooperation has been unique and precious in Palau which enables sustainable development by providing human to human relationships between the two countries.

To learn more about this and other JICA Programs, contact the Ministry of State or JICA Palau Office, or visit or Facebook, JICA Palau Office.

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