Furthering wheelchair service delivery training in Fiji

A child in Fiji being fitted with his new wheelchair.

In February – March 2015, Motivation Australia, Fiji National University (FNU) School of Medical Sciences and Nursing Physiotherapy department and the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) of Fiji worked together to successfully deliver the World Health Organisation (WHO) Wheelchair Service Training Package – Intermediate level (WSTP-I) course in Suva, Fiji.

Nine physiotherapists and four wheelchair technicians from Fiji and the Solomon Islands completed the ten-day training. Ten children and three adults with mobility and postural support needs attended the practical sessions enabling participants to practise skills in assessment, prescription and fitting of wheelchairs. These wheelchair users all received a wheelchair through the training and will be followed up by the Spinal Injuries Association over coming months.

FJ fitting 390x390The aim of the training is to build the capacity of national personnel in providing wheelchairs for children and adults who need additional postural support to sit upright. Participants learned how to carry out a more detailed assessment, and how to modify and/or adjust wheelchairs to meet individual needs. Motivation Australia will continue to work with our partners in Fiji to consolidate this training and to integrate the training in to the FNU annual curriculum.

The training course was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Leadership, Management and Governance Project programme (managed by US based Management Sciences for Health); travel and accommodation costs for the three participants from the Solomon Islands were funded by FNU; and children’s wheelchairs were donated by Cerebral Palsy Alliance and Wheelchairs for Kids.