Expanding rehabilitation possibilities in Tonga

A woman with a prosthetic leg uses parallel bars to help her walk. A man in a colourful apron watches from the side.

In early February MA’s Lee Brentnall visited the team at the Tonga Rehabilitation Department. It was an exciting visit as the building has now been opened for eight months, the team are all settled in and services are up and running. Tonga is also lucky enough to have two new physiotherapy graduates now working at the service, boosting their physiotherapy services.

Eighteen months ago, MA met with medical and nursing personnel of the Tonga MOH to understand more about the challenges to accessing rehabilitation. At that time there was a great sense that little could be done for people needing rehabilitation because the resources were not available. There were no options for people after an amputation or a stroke to improve their function.

Lee’s most recent trip was an excellent opportunity to understand the differences now that the rehabilitation services have expanded. It has been fabulous to see gradual changes as services are made available and the Rehabilitation team understand more and more, the possibilities of the service they provide.

There is now an opportunity for people after amputation to get a prosthesis and to walk again. The stroke classes offered by the department have proven beneficial in not only physical function, but also by creating a supportive environment for people who have had similar experiences. The general feeling now around the hospital is there is more to offer and the rehabilitation team have had positive feedback from medical and nursing personnel.

This change is so important for the people of Tonga and we are very proud of the fabulous work that the Tonga team continue to do to provide these valuable services.


The TRaM project is funded by the Tongan Ministry of Health, with funds provided through the Australian Government’s Disability Inclusive Development (DID) programme.