Lack of trained rehab professionals still a concern

May 28, 2024 12:30 pm

The number of health professionals trained to provide rehabilitation services in the Pacific region remains critically low.

This is according to Consultant Rehabilitation Medicine in Fiji Dr. Pratima Singh who is part of the Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Association (PRATA) workshop currently underway in Nadi.

Dr Singh highlights the significant challenges faced by the sector, including limited resources and insufficient funding.

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She says while they have made considerable advancements, the shortage of trained rehabilitation professionals continues to be a major obstacle.

“See rehabilitation in the Pacific Island countries is underdeveloped and I understand that you know, the Minister of Health Department in each country was more focused on the curative component of health provision rather than on the, you know, a tertiary component where, you know, we belong. So there was lack of effort in terms of development disservice.”

Dr. Pratima Singh

According to Dr Singh the PRATA workshop, a crucial gathering for regional experts, aims to finalize the draft terms of reference, strategic plan, and work plan for the period 2025-2030.

Dr. Singh notes that the development of the PRATA network began in 2019 and, despite progress over the past five years, many challenges persist.

Echoing Dr. Singh’s concerns, Papua New Guinea’s Technical Advisor for National Orthotics and Prosthetic Services Almah Kuambu emphasizes that addressing this issue requires not only creating more positions but also ensuring that the health systems at different levels can integrate these roles effectively.

PRATA workshop

Kuambu says it’s not just about training more professionals but about ensuring they have the opportunities and support to apply their skills where they are most needed.

There are now 12 members on the steering committee representing seven Pacific Island Countries.

The workshop will end on Thursday.