Non Government Oragnisation Vital For Fiji National University Course
A Fiji National University lecturer in Physiotherapy has credited a Non Governmental Organisation for being a big part in assisting students in their course work.
“They are very busy people but whenever we request help they always make time for this training. Without the Spinal Injuries Associaton we couldn’t do the course, simple as that,” said course lecturer Venasio Ramabuke.
Mr Ramabuke said: “We couldn’t operate without the SIA and the clients and assistance they provide.
“We have been doing this course here in Suva for five years, as well as Lautoka and Labasa and the SIA team has always been very good, very supportive.”
Eleven physiotherapy students from FNU’s School of Medicine proudly received their graduation certificates yesterday, following an intensive five-day practical assessment.
The certificates were presented by SIA executive director Joshko Wakaniyasi, who partnered with FNU to provide this course.
The NGO, which usually provides wheelchairs and mobility devices to those in need for free – along with other services – provided technicians, clients and wheelchairs to the FNU so that the students could carry out their practical assessments.
The clients and the students themselves all had their own personal stories to tell.
Maria Baleiono, mother of 14-year-old client Mere Rosi Grace who has muscular dystrophy, said: “Mere always wanted to be independent but couldn’t be, we had to lift her everywhere and as she grew it became very difficult, so she couldn’t often go outside.
“As she is growing the chair the SIA gave her first is now too small and we are very happy she is being assessed for a new one.
“For the first time she can go outside with her friends and we can take her too Church, which was too far too carry her before.”
One physio graduate, Manu Tamata, said he was inspired to become a physio after sustaining a spinal injury which needed three operations. Coming from Vanuata he was lucky to have access to one of only two physios in the country and, after three years, was finally able to walk again.
He intends to return to his home country and said: “The course is very good. I have learnt a lot about how physiotherapy can help the disabled.
“In Vanuatu there is no SIA, no assessments, now I can do assessments and follow patients up to see how they are doing, like the SIA do in Fiji.”
Physio Debbie, from Nadi hospital, was here doing a course to allow her to become the only qualified Community Rehab Assistant there.
“We already work closely with the SIA, and have sent orders for wheelchairs. These guys are great – the return on enquiries is instant and they are always calling to check up and see if we need assistance,” Debbie said.
“I have a passion for moving around and I can’t stand to see people not being able to move.
“All many able bodied see is a wheelchair – we need to redefine this by improving social inclusion, barriers to work, their environment and so on.”
Handing over the certificates to the successful graduates, Mr Wakaniyasi said: “We all work in partnership – SIA, the FNU and the students themselves – we are always talking to the students as this is a learning experience for SIA too.
“We look forward to working alongside you all once you are working in the field.
“We are thankful that this is your career choice and for the FNU in taking the initiative to implement this course.
“With students among you from Vanuatu, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands we are delighted that the course will benefit persons with disability across the Pacific.
“We also thank our partners including Vodafone Fiji ATH, PhysioNet UK and DFAT (Australian government).”
Source: Spinal Injuries Association