South Tarawa – a thin strip of land separates ocean and lagoon. The blue building of the Tungaru Central Hospital, site of the Tungaru Rehabilitation Service, can be seen in the foreground.

Prior to the devastating fire of October 2012, the Tungaru Rehabilitation Service (TRS) prosthetics & orthotics and rehabilitation service was widely regarded as being the most comprehensive of it’s kind in the Pacific region.

Locally fabricated, lower-limb prostheses were delivered by the service at a subsidised cost to the client. A multidisciplinary team of physiotherapists, allied health assistants and a prosthetist (previously two) worked together to ensure fit and function of assistive devices was appropriate, and that clients were sufficiently trained in the use of their device.

Wheelchairs and walking aids were provided through the TRS service at no cost to the client thanks to a collaboration with Motivation Australia and the LDS Church. The fabrication and provision of custom-made orthoses was limited due to lack of training of health personnel.

The rehabilitation team delivered weekly community based rehabilitation services to clients in their homes and to district hospitals. I-Kiribati on outer islands were also visited by the TRS team twice yearly.

read next… AFTER THE FIRE