ISPO Australia supported Mr Tau Tibiriano to attend the World Congress in Lyon in France in June 2015. This was an opportunity to directly provide input to the education and research experience of Mr Tibirano who has proven to be a dedicated and passionate rehabilitation professional through his work in rebuilding the Tungaru Rehabilitation Service. Mr Tibiariano had a conference abstract accepted for presentation as part of a symposium on Rehabilitation in the Pacific and it was fantastic that he could be there to take part. We asked Mr Tibiriano to share his experiences with us.

Flying from a very tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to Lyon, France to share the story about the Rebuilding of Tungaru (Kiribati) Rehabilitation Services as part of the ISPO World Congress in June 2015 is one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life. It was also the longest trip of my life – requiring three days at different airports or in the air.

The best part of the conference was the opportunity to share experiences and get to know other people from different parts of the world who have differences and similarities in terms of Rehabilitation service provision. I found that most symposiums were a really important way of updating people on current best practice and to share some of the difficulties experienced and how to handle them from more senior clinicians.

The conference has motivated me to do some research in my country. Being a physiotherapist, with a bachelor degree, I have always wondered how I can go about doing research or formulating a proposal for my masters program. Seeing many posters at the exhibition center really guided me with some different topics. I took a lot of notes that I can use for my literature review for my research.

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Lauren Fortington, Richard Dyson-Holland, Tau Tibiriano and Lee Brentnall in the Community Lounge at ISPO2015 displaying a poster of ISPO Australia’s Outreach Work

It was also fantastic to meet with other members of ISPO Australia with whom I  have been working. It was great to meet people in face after many correspondences via mails. Not only ISPO Australian but suppliers from all over the world, companies we order from.

Apart from the Congress, I really enjoyed spending time visiting some special places in Lyon. Colleagues from Australia enjoyed this time with me, sharing lunch and dinner together and giving me the feeling that I am not alone and we are there as one family from the Pacific.

Out of all, I miss only two things, my family and my daily Pacific food; I could not access any Pacific food such as fish, breadfruit, coconut and cassava. But overall, the whole trip was great and gave me an opportunity to meet with different experts who could share current practices in other rehabilitation services around the World.

Presentation of new foot care guidelines from The International Working Group on the Diabetic Foot to Tau and Lee, to share with clinicians in the Pacific. Pictured from left to right: Dr Lauren Fortington (President, ISPO Australia), Mr Richard Dyson-Holland (ISPO Australia, Outreach Committee Member), Mr Tau Tibiriano (Tungaru Rehabilitation Service, Kiribati), Ms Lee Brentnall (Motivation Australia), Dr Jaap van Netten (Secretary, IWGDF).