UOW hosts leading Chinese rehabilitation experts
UOW recently played host to a party of 20 top Chinese rehabilitation physicians, clinicians and managers as part of AusAID’s Australian Leadership Award (ALA) Fellowship Program.
The program was spearheaded by UOW Senior Research Fellow, Frances Simmonds.
Titled ‘Developing Best Practice Rehabilitation Services in China’, Ms Simmonds, Director of the Australasian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre (AROC), said the study tour (funded by the Australian Government’s overseas aid program AusAID), aimed to provide the Chinese visitors with insights into the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of Australian rehabilitation services.
In China, each year more than one million people fall victim to workplace and road-related injuries such as brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and amputations, which require rehabilitation. In addition, 83 million people live with other permanent life-impacting disabilities requiring ongoing rehabilitation services. But the facilities and experts that care for this vast quantity of people struggle to cope.
The recent earthquakes in Sichuan in 2008, and Qinghai in 2010, left more than 7,000 and 3,500 people respectively with injuries resulting in varying degrees of impairment which require rehabilitation and treatment. These recent disasters have thrust the importance of rehabilitation services as a public policy issue into the public and political limelight.
Ms Simmonds said that even the China Rehabilitation Research Centre (CRRC) admits that their country’s rehabilitation services significantly lags behind the level of services delivered in countries like Australia, where advanced technology, models and skills are brought to bear.
Ms Simmonds, together with the Director of UOW’s Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI), Professor Kathy Eagar, hosted the professional development study tour of China’s leading rehabilitation experts at UOW’s Innovation Campus.
The group, which included representatives from the China Rehabilitation Research Centre in Beijing and the China Disabled Persons Federation, started their three-week tour with an intensive two-day introduction to the Australian health system and rehabilitation policy and service delivery in Australia.
They then visited rehabilitation services in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as meeting officials from the Australian Department of Health in Canberra.
Their tour culminated with attendance at the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine’s Annual Congress in Brisbane.