The island nation of Tonga consists approximately 150 beautiful islands, of which 36 are populated with 120,000 residents. Every year Tonga celebrates its National Day on November 4th. As one of our Pacific neighbours, there are numerous Australian-based charities that work to support people and communities in Tonga and other Pacific nations.
One such organisation is international health charity, Rocketship.
Established in 2015, its name is a clever acronym of the work it does; Remote Opportunities for Clinical Knowledge, Education, Training & Support for Health In the Pacific. Dedicated to improving health in the Pacific, Rocketship shares skills and works in partnership to achieve strong, sustainable primary healthcare systems.
Gathering expertise and experience from highly professional healthcare partnerships and dedicated volunteers; Rocketship aims to train on-site post-graduate primary care physicians, thereby strengthening the health care throughout the communities within the Pacific Island countries. In addition to working in Tonga, they also work in Vanuatu and Timor-Leste.
Rocketship aims to strengthen primary healthcare systems in the Pacific by:
+ Supporting primary healthcare services
+ Enhancing the capacity of healthcare professionals
+ Promoting healthy behaviours and enabling healthy communities
Rocketship’s founder Dr Lachlan McIver, a rural generalist and public health physician with over a decade of experience visiting, living and working around the South Pacific, is also Medical Advisor at the Headquarters of Doctors Without Borders in Geneva. He often swaps his stethoscope and scuba gear for a snowboard whilst commuting between Australia, Vanuatu and Switzerland.
Rocketship undertakes various activities under programs in professional development, research, policy and advocacy, and community development. Specifically, in Tonga, Rocketship has scaled up the Family Medicine Program that was first successfully piloted in collaboration with Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Fiji National University.
Now they are supporting four new Tongan doctors working towards their Diploma and another three Diploma graduates heading towards their Masters. The Trainer Team are using digital technology to manage one-on-one mentorship through webinars, conducting clinical assessments and running Advanced Life Support courses even though travel restrictions are in place.
So this Thank You Thursday, we’re saying a big thanks to Dr McIver and his team at Rocketship for their commitment to building capabilities and improving health outcomes for communities across the Pacific.
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick.