UOW has 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 spearheaded by UOW Senior Research Fellow, Frances Simmonds.
Titled ‘Developing Best Practice Rehabilitation Services in China’, Frances Simmonds, Director of the Australasian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre (AROC), says the study tour, which is funded by the Australian Government’s overseas aid program AusAID, aims to provide the Chinese visitors with insights into the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of Australian rehabilitation services.
In China, each year over one million people fall victim to workplace and roadrelated injuries such as brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and amputations, which require rehabilitation. In addition, 83 million people live with other permanent life-impacting disability 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 7000 and 3500 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 both the public and political limelight.
Even the China Rehabilitation Research Centre (CRRC) admits that their country’s rehabilitation services significantly lag behind the level of services delivered in countries like Australia, where advanced technology, models and skills are brought to bear.
Frances Simmonds, together with Prof. Kathy Eagar, Director of UOW’s Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI), hosted the professional development study tour of China’s leading rehab experts at UOW Innovation Campus in late August.
The group, which included representatives from the China Rehabilitation Research Centre in Beijing and the China Disabled Persons Federation, started their 3 week tour with an intensive 2 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 with 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.