Rotary Australia World Community Services – Cambodia Project which sends medical equipment to Cambodia;
The Rotary Club of Osborme Park’s principal charitable project involves the recycling of used hospital equipment to Cambodia, where the public hospitals have very little and patients often do not even have beds provided for them. Our club has shipped 22 x 40 foot containers of used hospital equipment & medical supplies having a replacement value of over $12million to Cambodia over the past seven years. The two C Arms recently sent have a replacement value of $300,000 each & the 16 Defibrillators new would have cost close to a $1million.
The upgrading & replacement of Perth’s hospitals that has been occurring over the past few years has resulted in a lot of serviceable second hand equipment becoming available. Our new hospitals are mostly being equipped with all new fittings and many of the beds and other equipment in our old hospitals that are being shut down are being disposed of, resulting in a large volume of used equipment becoming available. Rather than this being dumped, some of it is being recycled and put to good use in less developed countries.
This equipment has typically consisted of beds (which are in great demand in Cambodia) X Ray machines, monitors, pumps, theatre lights, C arms, screens, operating tables, humicribs, hoists, intravenous hanging stands, wheel chairs, bed pans, Stryker drills, surgical equipment, to name just some of the equipment put to good use.
Members of our club collect the equipment from various hospitals and take it to Shipair’s warehouse, where they store it temporarily at no cost in a Container donated by a Club member. Once sufficient equipment has been collected a busy bee is organised and the equipment packed into a container by club members and volunteers Nurses, Doctors & others. The Club then arranges shipment of the container to Cambodia at a discounted rate.
A retired WA Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr Tim Keenan, who spends part of his time in Cambodia, arranges for the distribution and setup of the equipment in various public hospitals. Volunteer technicians & nurses, partly subsidized by the Club, then go to Cambodia to ensure the equipment is working and assist in training local hospital staff.
Interplast – which sends teams of plastic surgeons and medical staff to third world countries to carry out pro-bono operations on cleft palates, hare lips and burns victims as well as training local staff; and
Interplast is a Rotary charity that sends teams of highly qualified plastic and reconstructive surgical volunteers to developing countries in the Asia Pacific region to deliver programs of treatment and training. The main type of surgery undertaken are cleft lip and palate repairs, removal of tumours and the releasing of burn scar contractures.
Interplast currently does approximately 1,000 life changing surgeries a year, the majority being on Children. A two hour operation can change a child’s life from being ostracised by their community, to growing up normally and healthy; they can go to school; they can have friends; they can contribute to their family’s income and they become independent.
Every Interplast program is a training program providing very effective ‘on-the-job’ training to build that country’s capacity. Interplast also sometimes brings overseas surgeons to Australia for training.
The Rotary Club of Osborne Park was instrumental in getting an Interplast program started in our Rotary District in WA. We have been able to raise sufficient funds through the collaboration of clubs within the district to fund a medical Programme in each of the last four years. Each programs costs $45,000-$50,000.
In August 2015 a seven person Interplast volunteer team of Surgeons, anaesthetist and nurses travelled to Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines and performed a total of 100 procedures on 68 patients over a two week period. Previous trips have been to Labasa, Fiji.
There are always more patients than surgery spots and plenty of good medical volunteers willing to give up their time. The limiting factor is the money to fund these programmes. Approximately $45,000 is needed to fund each trip to pay for medical equipment and supplies and transport costs. The travel and accommodation of the volunteers is also paid out of these funds. Donations can be made from the Interplast website: https://www.interplast.org.au/
Rotary Australia Benevolent Society – Making Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder History Project;
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is a term used for a spectrum of conditions in people, caused by the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol can cause damage to the unborn child at any time during pregnancy and the level of harm is dependent on the amount and frequency of alcohol use and the stage of development of the foetus.
The symptoms of FASD vary and can be mild to very severe. Brain development of the child can be disrupted due to their mother’s alcohol consumption while pregnant, leading to a small and structurally abnormal brain. This can cause the brain to function abnormally, leading to a range of learning and sensory regulation difficulties, including issues with memory, completing complex tasks and numeracy. In addition, people with FASD often have problems coping with sensory inputs (eg. noise, sound, touch) that others would regard as normal. Children with FASD may also develop attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, conduct and oppositional disorders, risk-taking, anxiety and depression. Children with FASD may also develop into youth and adults who make poor choices and end up in corrective services.
In 2016 Rotary teamed up with Ability Centre and Patches Paediatrics to support children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and their families in the Pilbarra region.
Patches Paediatrics is run by Dr James Fitzpatrick, former Young Australian of the Year for the work he has done with these children and their families. His work with children with FASD started at the request of some of the elders in the Fitzroy Region, who wanted their grandchildren to have a better life experience than their children. The support Patches provide through their team of a Paediatrician, Psychologist, Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, as well as Aboriginal support workers, has since extended across the Kimberley, into the Pilbarra, and also the Armadale area of Perth.
Patches work in three main ways: the prevention of FASD, diagnosis, and evidence based therapy to improve outcomes.
Research has identified that in some regions of WA as many as 1 in 8 children are impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, the highest known incidence in the world. With support from the Patches Team working in the community, the number of expectant mothers consuming alcohol in the Fitzroy has reduced from 70% to 20%. Early diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) as well as timely therapy input to support the child, family and community is essential.
Patches Paediatrics is also linked with Telethon Kid’s Institute who are carrying out research at Banksia Hill Juvenile Detention Centre, where preliminary work has identified that over 40% of the youth have FASD.
Rotary support for this program is in its infancy and still being developed. Two therapists from Ability Centre joined a Patches Paediatrics Team in Port Hedland in 2016 as part of a pilot program. The project has now been adopted as a district project with the Rotary Aboriginal Reference Group and funding is being sought for a much larger program.