Triumphant return to Fiji

Motivation Australia is excited to return to some of our partner countries again! Project Officers Tim and Tom traveled to Fiji in March 2022 for three weeks spending time in both Nadi and Suva.

Two men in colourful shirts and nametags work together to assemble a wheelchair.

Advancing the national plan for rehabilitation

What a trip! In just the first week, over 30 stakeholders in Fiji’s health and rehabilitation sector came together to review and finalise the National Disability Inclusive Health and Rehabilitation Action Plan 2022-2026.

This workshop was supported by the Australian Government and opened by the Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong. Dr Fong showed enthusiasm and support for the new action plan’s potential to strengthen to health and rehabilitation systems in Fiji. All attendees worked hard to discuss and give feedback on the ideas currently drafted in the action plan.

Following the workshop, their hard work will be incorporated into the plan, which is now in the final stages of reviews.

Inside a conference hall man and a woman discuss what is written on a whiteboard. Behind them, other groups talk.

Rejuvenating skills and decentralising services

The next two weeks focused on wheelchair assessment, provision and technical training for staff from across Fiji.

In the second week, staff from Frank Hilton Organisation (FHO) attended a clinical wheelchair refresher training. The team worked together to update and refresh their skills in assessment and provision of basic wheelchairs. Two staff continued the next week of training to complete their full basic wheelchair training (WTSPb).

The third week of the trip was a technical wheelchair training for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MOHMS), supported by the Australian Government. Eleven MOHMS staff from seven different hospitals are now equipped to build and repair wheelchairs in their own services.

Training staff from different locations takes pressure off of the central service, reduces wait times and can increase access to wheelchair services. Our partners have since reported that central services have seen an increase in the number of people outside of the central hospital receiving appropriate wheelchairs!

Five people work together to assemble a wheelchair.

The future of wheelchair training in Fiji

Two local trainers are now certified in the provision of wheelchair training after completing the second half of their Training of Trainers program (WTSPtot). This opens opportunities for training to be managed and delivered locally.

We are especially grateful to Abraham Danford, a long serving wheelchair technician, for supporting the final week of training. His years of expertise showed in all his hard work and trainees responded with enthusiasm and great engagement.

At the end of the training Abraham shared how much he enjoyed passing his skills on to new staff and could retire confidently, knowing that services will still be strong. We wish him luck in his retirement, and look forward to seeing all the great work of the future wheelchair provision workforce.

Five men work together to assemblea wheelchair, while another man watches carefully.


Motivation Australia acknowledges the valuable support from the Australian Government through the Australian Non-Government Organisation Cooperation Program (ANCP), the Australian High Commission in Fiji, Frank Hilton Organization (FHO), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) for donating all wheelchairs used in the training, and all participating hospitals and services.

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