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.
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
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.
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!
PIOA Trainee, Kundiawa
Student Representative, 2020.