Debbie Williams (pictured) joined the team to support this review after COVID restrictions prevented other Motivation Australia team members travelling. Debbie’s extensive experience in providing rehabilitation services in Fiji was extremely valuable.
She met with prosthetic and orthotic service users and their families, to learn about the barriers and facilitators they have experienced. Debbie also consulted with a variety of government and non-government stakeholders across Fiji to collect their feedback and ideas on how national services could be strengthened.
The prosthetic and orthotic team at Tamavua Twomey Hospital are part of the broader rehabilitation team and provide services for a population of approximately 900,000. The team is very dedicated and between August 2019 and July 2020 provided 182 prosthetic and orthotic devices to service users.
“Before I was fitted with a prosthesis limb, I used the axillary crutches to walk around and this only allowed me to do things that the axillary crutches would allow me to do. I could not use my hands while I walked so things like gardening were almost impossible. So I did things indoors. But since using my prosthetic leg, I do everything and walk everywhere. I even use to attend to our Kava plantation and gardening at home. The only thing left to do is climb a tree!” Service User (70+ year old Female)
Many service users rely on community follow up because of the distance to the service in Suva.
“I had my leg amputated in March of 2020. It was very difficult to accept me losing my leg. The physiotherapist that attended to me in Labasa Hospital told me that I can get an artificial leg made and I would be able to walk again. This made feel better about myself. The physiotherapist scheduled me to attend clinics during the Rehabilitation Outreach Clinics in November 2020. I was seen by a nurse, doctor, physiotherapist and the Technician.” Service User (30-49 year old female)
“Since using my prosthetic leg, I do everything and walk everywhere… the only thing left to do is climb a tree!”
Service User (70+ year old Female)
The demand for prosthetic and orthotic services in Fiji is higher than the current service can meet. This is expected to further increase as the effects of non communicable diseases leading to amputation and stroke impact people, their families and communities.
Motivation Australia has worked with the rehabilitation department in Fiji for many years and was honoured to be able to conduct this review with them. We look forward to supporting the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to implement some of the recommendations from the review.
Motivation Australia acknowledges the support and contributions of the Rehabilitation Department at Tamavua Hospital, the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/Australian High Commission, Suva and the Australian Government’s Fiji Program Support Facility.
Many countries in the Pacific and Asia regions are experiencing a rising demand for health, rehabilitation and assistive technology services. Equipping and training local staff ensures more people can access life-saving and life-changing services.