Orthopaedic Outreach has established a fruitful long-term relationship with the Tongan Ministry of Health. There is a strong sense of community and leadership from Vaiola Hospital, which includes the Honourable Minister Dr Saia Piukala, Lord Viliami Tangi, CEO Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola, Medical Superintendent Lisiate Ulu’fonua and Chief Nurse Dr Amelai Afuha’amango.
Such is the depth of understanding between the Tongan leadership group and Orthopaedic Outreach, that King Tupou VI of Tonga awarded Outreach volunteers Drs Rodney Green, Mark Ridhalgh and Geoffrey Rosenberg, and Operational Manager Graham Hextell the Order of the Crown in a private ceremony within the Royal Palace. This was in recognition of the many years of consistent commitment to health service and education within their community.
October 2018 welcomed the 39th annual club foot visit to Vaiola Hospital, led by Dr Andrew Leicester from the Sydney Children’s Hospital. The team focused on skills transfer involving the clinical assessment of club foot and the serial casting techniques required for the successful Ponseti management of club foot. The Ian Stratton Trust support this initiative through the provision of funding to source vital materials and medical supplies. These supplies were transported courtesy of DHL Express at no cost, which allows Orthopaedic Outreach to utilise funds on much needed programs instead of freight expenses.