The Kingdom of Tonga is a Polynesian country situated south of Samoa, southeast of Fiji and north of New Zealand. It is the last remaining constitutional monarchy in the Pacific region; a monarchy that is over 1,000 years old. Tonga is comprised of over 170 islands, many of which are uninhabited. With a population estimated at 108,000 and majority of people living in rural villages, service delivery can be challenging.

MA’s engagement with Tonga began in 2011 with a mobility device feasibility study. Following a project design in November 2016, MA have been working with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to create a project to strengthen and expand the services provided by the physiotherapy department at Vaiola Hospital in Nuku’alofa.

Currently MA is engaged in the Tonga Rehabilitation and Mobility (TRaM) project, (February 2018 to June 2020) implemented in partnership by MA and the Tongan Ministry of Health (MOH). The project is funded by the MOH, with funds provided through the Australian Government’s Disability Inclusive Development (DID) programme.

Disability related statistics and information:
• The 2018 Tonga National Disability Survey identified that 7.6% of the total population were living with a disability in Tonga.
• It is expected that disability is likely to increase in Tonga with an ageing population and with non-communicable diseases (NCD) now at epidemic levels resulting in high rates of amputations, stroke and impairments.
• Tonga became a signatory to the United Nations Convention of Rights for Persons with Disabilities in 2007.
• In 2014 Tonga launched the ‘Tonga National Policy on Disability Inclusive Development 2014-2018’. This policy takes a whole-of-government approach and involves civil society organisation as partners and implementing agencies.

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