Pacific Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Regional Network

The Pacific Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Network connects health professionals all over the Pacific to strengthen the voice of the rehabilitation and assistive technology sector.

Logo showing a person reaching through a barrier to touch the sun which radiates different colours.

Background

Established in 2020, the Pacific Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Regional Network (Regional Network) aims to connect health professionals, encourage collaboration and advocate to strengthen the voice of the rehabilitation and assistive technology sectors in the Pacific Region.

The Regional Network provides access to resources and opportunities for members to improve interorganisational bonds. Members work together in a manner which recognises and respects the diverse and unique country contexts present in the region as a whole. This initiative emerged from discussions at the 2019 Pacific Rehabilitation and Mobility conference in Fiji.

There have always been challenges initiating a Regional Network. However, COVID-19 dramatically changed the landscape and the way people work, resulting in a stronger online presence. Incredibly, this sparked momentum in establishing a steering committee to develop the Regional Network. There are now 12 members on the steering committee, representing 6 Pacific Island Countries.

Steering committee

Almah Kuambu
Co-chair
Papua New Guinea

Posenai Patu
Co-chair
Samoa

Elwin Taloimatakwa
Solomon Islands

Elsie Taloafiri
Solomon Islands

Pratima Singh
Fiji

Anna Alo
Fiji

Akoaki Eritane Motee
Kiribati

Motii Kaake
Kiribati

Tekoaua Tamoroa
Kiribati

Siosaia Vakasiuola
Tonga

Joe Kombeng
Papua New Guinea

Albert Tioti
Papua New Guinea

Tom Fitzpatrick
Secretary
Australia

Symbol

The Pacific Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Regional Network symbol was created to represent the ideals of the people it brings together. The figure symbolises the strength and aspiration of the rehabilitation and AT sector as we work towards our goals.

The centre sun-like symbol includes the icon for Sustainable Development Goals, initiatives developed by the United Nations to improve the quality of life for all globally.

Finally, the blue semi- circle represents the barriers broken to improve rehabilitation and mobility services in the Pacific, through compassion and collaboration. The symbol projects hope, care, determination and unification.

Logo showing a person reaching through a barrier to touch the sun which radiates different colours.

Achievements

In May 2021, the steering committee ran an online strategic planning workshop to define their vision, mission and values. During this workshop, members shared challenges and achievements of their work in each unique context. Acknowledged was the importance of collaboration, emphasised through the following quote.

“When spider webs unite, they tie up a lion. Individually our webs are not strong enough. Together we can change the course of history.”

Tedros Adhanom, Director of the World Health Organization

7 members of the Regional Network steering committee are on a video call. They are all smiling from 6 rectangle boxes.

What’s next?

As of June 2021, the steering committee are reviewing their strategic plan and planning a goal-setting workshop for the near future.

Members from organisations in the sector have expressed their excitement to see the Regional Network forming and are already reaching out with opportunities such as:

  • ISPO Australia have generously sponsored a steering committee member from each country to attend the 18th ISPO World Congress 2021
  • World Health Organization representative have been in touch for a peer review of the ‘Package of Interventions for Rehabilitation Amputations’
  • Members have been invited to the Global Alliance of AT organisations (GAATO) ‘The grand challenges in AT outcomes’ regional consultation.

Motivation Australia acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) and the International Society for Prosthetic and Orthotics (ISPO) Australia.

Australian Aid logo
ISPO logo

For more information about the Pacific Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Regional Network please email Clinical Project Officer Tom Fitzpatrick.