PIOA AGM 2021 – Trainee report

Musculo-­‐skeletal  pathology  has  always  been  both  a  diagnostic  and  management dilemma  in  almost  all  of  the  Pacific  Island  Countries.  The lack  of  general  knowledge  and  skills  necessary  for  basic  proper  diagnosis  and  subsequent  employment  of  complementing  management  principles  has  always  been  a  challenge  for  most  of  the  islanders’  medical  practitioners.  

Whether  it  is  on  a  remote  atoll  or  the  hinterlands  of our  bigger  islands,  the  wide  expanse  of  the  Pacific  Ocean and  the rugged  terrains,  has  always  posed  great  difficulty  for  our  population  to  access  basic  orthopedic  services,  which  apparently  for  most  of  our  islands,  appear  to  be  a  service  enjoyed  by  the  few  who  are  living  in  and  close  to  the  capital  towns  or  cities.    
The  introduction  of  Pacific  Islands  Orthopedic  Association  (PIOA)  training  has  certainly  been  a  blessing  for  us  since  its  birth.  It  has  served  as  the  conduit  for  delivery  of  quality  knowledge and  skills  necessary  to  equip  one  to  deal  with  our  common, and  also  not  so  common; musculoskeletal  problems.
We  take  our  hats  off  to  our  faculty and  their  families,  from far  and  near;  who  have  given us  their undivided  attention  and time in  this  journey  in  building  our  island  capacity.  Knowing  well  that  the  islands  will  present  to  them  its  many  challenges,  they  have  continued  on  in  this  journey.  Building  from  strength  to  strength.  

For  sure,  the  vision  held  at  some  time  in  the  past  by  a  few, is  now  taking its  form  and  is  now embraced  by  many.  Though  it  might  seem  a  slow  walk  for  some,  but  for  those  of  us  impacted  by  the  very  training  and  are  seeing  results,  it  is  progress.  It  is  such  that  gives  us  the  hope  of  a  better  tomorrow  for  our  people  in  the  islands of  the  Pacific.

2020  Academic  Year.
New  Trainees.
A  warm  welcome  to  our  new  fellow  trainees  for  2020.    The  trainees  were:
1) Kini  Serevi  – Fiji,
2) Upa  Kaupa  – Papua  New  Guinea,  and;
3) Agnes  Auto  – Solomon  Island
Finalist  2019.
Congratulations  to  our  finalist  trainees  of  2019.  Namely,  
1) Shaun  Mauiliu  – Samoa,
2) James  Tewa’ai  – Solomon  Island,
3) Mark  Rokobul  – Fiji,  and;
4) Alex  Munamu  – Solomon  Island.
Continuing  Trainees.
Congratulations  on  your  perseverance  through  2020  despite  the  many  challenges  through  out  the  2020  academic  year.
In  light  of  the  COVID  19  pandemic,  it  has  been  a  challenging  year  in  delivering  modules  for  the  trainees.  Travel  restrictions  with  closed  borders  have  made  it  impossible  for  travel in  general for  the  modules.  
However,  the  COVID  19  pandemic  experience  has  also  brought  forward  brilliant  thoughts  for  the  way  forward  for  living  in  general  and  of  course delivering  of  our  modules.  The  Zoom  Platform  was our  greatest  friend  and  aid.  
2020  Zoom  conferences:  The  Challenges,  Solutions  and   recommendations.
It  was  surely  great  that  the  sessions  were  delivered  using  the  Zoom  platform.  The  sessions were  delivered  as  per  the  schedule.  However,  trainees  were  not  able  to  attend  in  person  at  times  for  the  following  reasons:
1) Trainees  were  on  call during  Zoom  session  times.  It  was  in  itself  a  challenge  as  call  schedules  were  made  to  factor  in  trainees  as  all  were  on  the  ground  and  had  to  continue  to  take  calls.  Surely,  the  sessions  were  recorded  and  shared  but  would  be  better  to  sit  in  a  live  session  for  many  reasons. Hopefully,  2021  will  be  better.
2) Internet  signals. At  times  Internet  connectivity  is  a  problem  across  the  islands.  I  
find  personally  that  you  can  have  multiple  ISP  connections.  For  example,  I  use  both  Digicel  and  Telikom  cell  phone  companies here  in  PNG.  So  I can  swing  between  the  companies  whenever  signal  drops  in  one.  We  cannot depend  on  just  one.  Have  a  back  up  option.
3) Practical  Sessions. Obviously,  we  did  not  have  the  practical  sessions.  Probably,  we  
can  have  video  recordings  of  the  practicum and  shared  with  the  trainees.  We  can  have  the  actually  hands  on  when  we  have  the  opportunity.  
All  in  all,  2020  was  a  successful  year  despite  the  limitations  that  we  had.  Though  COVID  19  closed  off  our  borders,  it  never  closed  off  the  opportunity  for  continued  learning.  The  Zoom  Conferencing  platform  paved  the  way  for  our  new  normal  in  learning. Thank  you  from  all  the  trainees  to  our  faculty  members  of  PIOA  for  your  
undivided  support  through  2020.
May  2021  be  better  as  we  continue  to  grow  in strength.
To  God  be  the  Glory!
Raymond  Saulep
PIOA  Trainee, Kundiawa
Student  Representative,  2020.