Training health professionals remotely

Diabetes is a rising threat in many Pacific Islands, and the Solomon Islands has the 9th highest prevalence of the disease. Unfortunately, with much of the population living in regional areas, access to care is a challenge. This month Motivation Australia ran Diabetic Foot Care (DFC) training for Solomon Island health professionals from 3500kms away!

Sharon Juvia, Orthotist, working on laptop with Motivation Australia DFC online training.

A small island nation

The Solomon Islands is a diverse nation in the Pacific consisting of over 900 islands. Much of the population resides across the coastal regions, while 13% live in the capital, Honiara.

It is more difficult for people in regional areas to access health care services, meaning a high percentage of Solomon Island people are at higher risk for diabetes-related complications.

A view over a coastal town. The sky is cloudy but blue, and the trees are lush and green between clusters of houses.

How serious is diabetes?

Many countries in the Pacific are under threat and burden from non-communicable diseases. Around the world, 7 out of 10 of the countries with the highest prevalence of diabetes are in the Pacific. The Solomon Islands currently sits as the 9th highest prevalence of diabetes globally1.

Many people with diabetes have reduced or loss of sensation in their legs and feet making them vulnerable to injury, wound development, infection and amputations. Left untreated, complications arising from these wounds can lead to an early, preventable death.

Diabetes Australia states that diabetes is the epidemic of the 21st century and the biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system2. In places with reduced access to health systems, such as the Solomon Islands, these challenges are amplified.

Globally, is it estimated every 30 seconds a lower limb is lost to amputation as a consequence of diabetes1.

A sign outside of a building reading "Solomon Islands National Diabetes Centre National Referral Hospital"

“Over 60% of our surgical ward is people with diabetes and amputations. This number is increasing, and we are receiving more and more referrals. Resources and dressings are difficult to accommodate for the need.”

Roselyn Mataki
Surgical ward nurse, Honiara

Being a part of a solution

As part of the Pacific Wayfinders program, Motivation Australia (MA) planned to deliver an in-person, DFC training program to participants in the Solomon Islands. As a result of the impacts of COVID-19, we have adapted our approach in achieving the goals of this project.

In response, MA has launched an online DFC training course. The training is delivered over three terms with different tools introduced to support the 3 participants in their roles, and upskill them to train other local staff and personnel.

This is our first time delivering training in an online environment – novel for both our Solomon Island participants, and the MA team. To support this new learning environment, MA’s online learning platform includes videos, learning resources, clinical forms, mentoring and support.

“We are in the early days, but it has been very successful so far and it’s great to see the enthusiasm from our partners who are working hard to make a positive and lasting impact on their community.”

Tom Fitzpatrick
Podiatrist, Motivation Australia

The impact of training

Comprehensive diabetic foot services, including foot wound risk assessments and prevention education support by a multi-disciplinary team, reduces foot complications and amputations by up to 85%1. The first term of the DFC training prioritises early foot screening, wound management, infection control and offloading services.

The participants undertaking the online training course are all from separate disciplines. They will be working together as a team, with the common goal of improving outcomes and reducing the prevalence of avoidable amputations and deaths.

If you want to check out some of our videos for this course, they have been made publicly available on this YouTube playlist.

Tom demonstrates making a foot cast while on a video call with training participants.
A picture of Angelina and Roselyn wearing their nurse uniforms.

“Diabetes is a big problem in the Solomon Islands, and we are under a lot of pressure. I look forward to applying this knowledge, service forms and understanding to help me, my colleagues and our community. The videos are very helpful to how we can learn.”

Roselyn Mataki
Surgical Ward Nurse

A profile picture of Sharon.

“I am very happy to be involved in this training and enjoy learning with staff from other teams so that we will all be able to support each other and reach the best outcomes for the people we see.”

Sharon Juvia

A profile picture of Angelina wearing her nurse uniform.

“At the moment I am the only diabetic foot nurse working and I am very glad to be able to undertake this course. Already it is helping to further understand the type of wound and how best manage them. I look forward to using new service forms and equipment which will help us.”

Angelina Mangale
Diabetic Foot Nurse

Be part of the change

You don’t have to go overseas to help support Motivation Australia’s work as a health professional. Health, medical and development professionals can also support our work in the Pacific region in a number of ways!


We would like to acknowledge our partners, Ministry of Health & Medical Services in the Solomon Islands, for allowing their staff the time to complete the training with us and for helping to facilitate this course, despite the challenges faced by COVID-19.

Motivation Australia would also like to acknowledge the valuable contribution of The Government of Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) programme who supported the development and delivery of this online course.

This training is being delivered as part of the Pacific Wayfinders project, supported by the Australian Government through the ANCP programme.