Rehabilitation in Tonga

In August, Motivation Australia personnel Lee Brentnall and Ray Mines, along with Siosaia Vakasiuola and John (Sione) Po’uliva’ati(Tonga Ministry of Health physiotherapists) worked together to better understand the current situation for physical rehabilitation in Tonga. This included meeting with nurses, doctors and personnel from a range of hospital departments (surgical, medical, paediatric and the national diabetes centre), Mu’a community health centre and the Mango Tree Centre.

Lee also met with people attending the physiotherapy department who provided valuable insight into the challenges of accessing rehabilitation. One of these people was Tevita Takitaki (pictured above), who shared his story with us.

Tevita is 45 years old, and he had a stroke 4 years ago which has affected the right side of his body and his speech. Before the stroke, Tevita was a deep sea diver and very active. Since the stroke he spends most of his days at home. He can do some activities by himself but does not feel he can do everything.

Tevita came to the physiotherapy department because of pain in his arm and hand. He also wanted some ideas to help with his speech. This was really important to him as he still found it difficult to speak well.

As the TRAM project moves forward we aim to be able to support the team in Tonga to provide more services for people like Tevita so that he, and others in Tonga can achieve more function and better outcomes after an incident such as a stroke.

The Tonga TRaM project is supported by the Australian Government and implemented by Motivation Australia and the Ministry of Health in Tonga. Thank you to everyone who met with us and told us their stories.