Motivation Australia, together with the Latter day Saint Charities (LDSC) have recently delivered wheelchair refresher training in three countries throughout the Pacific from September to November. Motivation Australia’s Katrina McGrath joined Chris Christensen a technical trainer from LDSC to co-deliver training for 45 Pacific Islanders.
The LDSC are the biggest donor of wheelchairs within the Pacific Region. In the last year they have designed three new wheelchairs to add to the range available. This made refresher training essential to ensure that wheelchair service personnel could:
- Provide these new wheelchairs safely,
- Make the most out of the features of these new wheelchairs, and,
- Provide optimum service provision to users.
The training in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, introduced the three new wheelchairs and provided a refresher of the key elements of wheelchair provision, with a focus on the importance of user training, follow up and data collection. In each country wheelchair service personnel were introduced to and instructed in the use of new and modified service specific forms. The reporting of data to donors and funders is essential for the ongoing support of wheelchair programs within the Pacific. Service personnel were provided with the resources and training required to ensure accurate and timely data collection and reporting.
The Wheelchair Refresher Training was delivered first in Suva, Fiji to 12 clinicians and 10 technicians from the Ministry of Health and Medical Service (MoHMS), Frank Hilton Organisation (FHO) and the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA). The training was a great success and the personnel enjoyed working with the new wheelchairs.
October, Papua New Guinea
The four day training in Port Moresby included six personnel from the National Orthotic Prosthetic Service (NOPS) Port Moresby, one from NOPS Mt Hagen, and one Biomedical Engineer from the Health Facilities Standards Branch. A delay in the clearance and delivery of the newly donated wheelchairs to NOPS, resulted in the wheelchairs only being available on the last day of training. The training team are pleased that despite this, all required elements of the training were completed. The success in getting the wheelchairs cleared was a testimony to the hard work and team work of personnel from NOPS, HFSP, and the LDS Church.
November, Solomon Islands
Motivation Australia was able to facilitate thirteen CBR field workers from five provinces, one physiotherapist and one lecturer from Solomon Islands National University to attend the refresher training in Honiara. The theoretical and technical training was very well received, however the highlight of the four-day training was the mobility skills sessions! It is important that wheelchair personnel understand how to mobilise in a wheelchair so that they can understand the challenges wheelchair users face, and so they have the skills to support users to be able to mobilise safely and effectively. The participants particularly enjoyed the cone ball game – the object of which is to knock the opponent team’s cone down, while protecting your own. It was a lot of fun!
Katrina reports that each training was a great opportunity for service personnel in each country to come together and share experiences, skills, knowledge and build stronger relationships. All participants valued the training and appreciated the new wheelchairs and their features. They look forward to providing these devices to meet the needs of people in their communities.
Motivation Australia would like to thank all participants for their enthusiastic involvement in the training. We also say thank-you to Chris Christensen, from the LDSC who travelled from the USA to participate as co-trainer.
Motivation Australia acknowledges the valuable contribution of the Canadian Government’s Fund for Local Initiatives, and the Australian Government’s NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).
Motivation Australia also acknowledges the ongoing donation of quality, appropriate wheelchairs by LDSC.