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Non Government Oragnisation Vital For Fiji National University Course

Non Government Oragnisation Vital For Fiji National University Course
Spinal Injuries Association executive director Joshko Wakaniyasi (sitting, middle) with Physio graduates. Photo: Spinal Injuries Association
September 23
08:00 2016


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



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