Wheelchairs for children living with disabilities

Ministry of Education permanent secretary Anjeela Jokhan, fourth from left, and Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong, seventh from left, with staff members from the Frank Hilton Organization. Picture: Wata Shaw

More than $72,000 worth of basic and intermediate wheelchairs have been procured by the Frank Hilton Organization for children living with disabilities around the country.

Frank Hilton Organization’s CEO Sureni Perera said the physiotherapy department had screened children within 13 special schools and fitted children with mobility devices since May 2018.

“In the past five years, we have supported over 181 children and support an active case load of 155 children at present,” she said.

“This year, with the support of our generous donors, we were able to procure 110 units of basic and intermediate wheelchairs.

“The wheelchairs received will assist children with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, delayed development, spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

“And will be fitted according to prescription for children being referred through special schools, hospitals and identified in the community at no cost.”

She thanked the donors which included Bluewater Real Estate Ltd, Goodman Fielder International Ltd, Standss South Pacific Ltd, Zaggles Investment and Pacific Customs Agencies Ltd Logistics who have provided support towards the procurement of the devices.

Permanent Secretary for Education Anjeela Jokhan said the ministry had continued to support children living with disabilities by providing trained teachers and scholarships.

She said the 110 wheelchairs would be of great use to children in terms of getting to schools and getting an education.

Health Minister Dr James Fong said the ministry supported the initiative by providing $900,000 in funding.

He said the initiative also complimented the MOHMS support for strategies which focused on people being healthy and productive.

“These wheelchairs support our objectives at the moment and that is to improve productivity of our rehabilitation centres,” Dr Fong said.

“It compliments initiatives to strengthen prosthesis capability locally with the government of India through the Jaipur Team and Hope Centre Fiji and other efforts in the space of rehabilitation medicine.

“The disability inclusive and rehabilitation medicine action plan 2022-2026 of MOHMS outlines capacity building and clinic support for children with disabilities which will be expedited through partnerships work with relevant non-government organisations.”

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