A shipping container of much-needed good quality secondhand disability equipment from Kapiti will be delivered to Fiji later in the year.

Robyn Mourie, from Waikanae, who is coordinating the project, said she had had a great response from locals and rest homes after highlighting the disability equipment drive on social media.

Some of the items that could make a big difference to others include wheelchairs, crutches, toilet chairs, shower chairs, moon boots, orthoses [externally applied devices], walking frames, canes, hoists.

A major donation has come from Summerset on the Coast retirement village which donated two electric wheelchairs, one electric bed, three manual beds, two walking frames and an electric hoist.

Advertisement

Robyn is coordinating with Medical Service Pacific in Suva, Fiji, which coordinates with the Fiji Council of Disabled Persons (FCDP) to ensure the equipment is distributed where it is needed most.

FCDP estimated the number of people with disabilities in Fiji was likely to be more than 85,000.

And based on World Health Organisation statistics an estimated 8810 people in Fiji required a wheelchair and 4405 people required a prosthesis or orthosis.

"We have had an offer for a shipping container to transport the equipment which we are hoping to send in July."

Robyn said there was an alarming shortage of disability equipment all the Pacific Islands, not just Fiji.

"I worked as a locum in the Cook Islands as a physio and it was then I saw the great need. One of my first clients was an elderly man with a recent leg amputation who came to me for physio and only had one crutch and was using the wall as his other crutch to get around to the physio clinic.

"The hospital had only one crutch to loan. Another case was a young 16-year-old girl who had not been outside her house for a year as she did not have a wheelchair."

Robyn, her father Les Galloway, from Levin, and her husband Adrian Mourie have collected and shipped two container loads of disability equipment to Rarotonga in 2011 and 2012.

Advertisement

"It's a small drop in the ocean of help."

She said it was important the equipment was good quality and safe.

"This ensures all equipment will be utilised and not be sent to the landfill which can be the case with some unsustainable donated goods. We vet the equipment carefully because if they need regular maintenance or special batteries they are not worth sending because they won't be a sustainable option for the people with disabilities due to poor access to services and goods."

People can donate by calling Robyn on 0274907994 or email fusion.physiotherapist@gmail.com