Motivation Australia recently completed a training and support visit to our partners in Papua New Guinea. One of the key activities of the visit was training; 19 local staff members successfully completed Basic Wheelchair Service Training. Trainees learned how to provide appropriate wheelchairs for adults and children who need a wheelchair for mobility, but do not need additional support to sit upright.
The Training drew on material from the World Health Organisation’s Wheelchair Service Provision Training (basic level) package; and included several practical sessions, enabling pacticipants to put into practise and consoidate their new knowledge and skills with real people. 31 people with a mobility disability were reviewed during these practical clinics, and provided with an appropiate wheelchair and cushion.
Motivation Australia’s Lauren Houpapa (Senior Clinical Coordinator) and Ray Mines (Design Director) led the training. Two volunteers from Australia also joined them: Chris Dent (Senior Physiotherapist) and Laura Diment (Biomedical Engineer). The 19 staff who completed the training were from Motivation Australia’s PNG Access to Mobility Programme partners: the National Orthotics and Prosthetics Service. In addition, two physiotherapists from the Department of Health and Cheshire Home joined the training.
Levuana was one of the trainees on the course, and we talked to her about what she felt she had learned: “I have really enjoyed this training. Before, we did not do assessment, actually we just guessed. The idea that we had was that a wheelchair was just something to put someone in to push them around from place to place. Now I think this is wrong, and I will have to go back and start again…now we know how in detail to do assessments and prescriptions. Now I know that everything about a wheelchair is important…because of the effects a wheelchair can have on the person…I know more about the how living in different places and needing different things means you will need a different wheelchair.”