Running a successful wheelchair (or any other assistive technology) service requires management level support. That means that managers need to understand how to plan, implement and manage their service; motivate personnel; and ensure that the right resources are in place when they are needed. In most developing countries, service managers also need to be incredibly resourceful, in order to make the best use of often ridiculously scant funds, staff, equipment and products. They also need to know how to advocate to donors to ensure that they receive what they need (and not just what others want to give, or in the worst case, get rid of); and how to promote the value of their service amongst competing priorities.
To help support some of the key people in the Pacific Region who manage wheelchair and other disability services, Motivation Australia ran a two-day Wheelchair Service Management Workshop in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
The Workshop brought together some of the people who are truly the back-bone of disability specific services in their countries. This included staff from the Spinal Injuries Association in Fiji, Tungaru Rehabilitation Service in Kiribati, Mobility Device Service (National Health Service) in Samoa, the Community Based Rehabilitation Service in the Solomon Islands and both Government and Non-Government services in Vanuatu. The Workshop was facilitated by Motivation Australia, with local support from the Vanuatu Society for Persons with Disabilities. We were also delighted to have the strong support of the Vanuatu Ministry of Justice and Community Services who welcomed the overseas participants and hosted a closing dinner.
The Workshop utilised the World Health Organisation Wheelchair Service Training Package Management Module; as well as resources developed by Motivation Australia and partners in the Pacific Region. Considerable time was built into the programme to allow for participants to discuss and share their strategies for successfully implementing wheelchair and other mobility device services in their countries. This opportunity for sharing proved to be one of the most successful outcomes from the Workshop, and all participants strongly requested further opportunities to meet in similar forums in the future.
Motivation Australia would like to thank USAID for their generous support, through the US based Leadership, Management Group, VSPD personnel for their coordination on the ground, the Vanuatu Ministry of Justice and Community Services and all of the participants for their great commitment towards improving services for people with disabilities in their countries and the Pacific Region.