Club News

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ROTARY KIAMA EMERGES FROM LOCKDOWN

Outgoing President Barry Wilson handed leadership of Rotary Kiama to incoming President Dave Smark at a Dinner on 29 June, hosted at the Sebel Hotel.  Members attended either physically or virtually by video, maintaining appropriate “social distance”, to recognize the significant efforts of long term stalwart members Carol Jagger, Peter Maitland and Bruce Johnston, as well as the contribution of outgoing President Barry Wilson.

Rotary Kiama is a Club that serves the community, locally, nationally and internationally.  Significant funding has been raised by the Club over the last 12 months to support the battle against Rheumatic Heart Disease, which seriously impacts indigenous children in remote Northern Territory communities at some of the highest rates in the world.  The Club was briefed by live video by grateful Doctors Josh Francis and Jennifer Yan who head up the RECARDINA Project in Darwin which trains indigenous health care workers to detect the disease and support treatment of indigenous children in remote communities.  The Club intends to continue to support this great project which empowers local communities to support critical health needs locally in remote areas. 

Rotary Kiama’s fundraising activities are about to relaunch after the enforced pause due to the pandemic.  Look forward to enjoying an egg and bacon roll at the Sunday Markets at Black Beach, or to see the cars at the Kiama Auto Expo in the coming months.  Rotary Kiama is about “Service above Self” and fundraising serves the community locally (such as supporting programs at Kiama High and the bushfires), nationally such as RECARDINA, or internationally.  

Rheumatic Heart Disease affecting Indigenous Australians 

Rotary Kiama has joined several co-sponsors, with the Menzies School of Health Research in Northern Territory, in training Indigenous Health Workers to use a simple handheld echo scanning device to detect the incidence of Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) affecting Indigenous children of the Northern Territory.

In this three-week RHD study of several remote Indigenous communities, many hundreds of children were screened by briefly trained health workers, to compare their results with those of expert sonographers and paediatric cardiologists using identical equipment.

As part of the team, two members of the Rotary Kiama (President Barry Wilson and Director Peter Maitland with their wives) attended and assisted by recording results for the study.

Initial outcomes from the study have been positive. Several cases of RHD were detected and confirmed, as were a significant number of borderline cases. Immediate counselling for the family was provided and where possible prophylactic treatment was initiated.

As part of the study, the team also provided videos that had been produced in local Indigenous languages about the cause and prevention of RHD. These were exceptionally well received,

After detailed analysis of the results are completed, we will better understand if this groundbreaking study has the capacity to proceed to an effective, cost efficient and culturally acceptable method of detecting and identifying Indigenous children who can be identified before RHD symptoms become severe.

Bush Fire Appeals

Recently, the Rotary Club of Kiama was delighted to be asked to be involved in the “Play it Forward – Kiama’s Free Bushfire Relief Concert”.  The Kiama and District Business Chamber hosted the event, with funds raised going directly to South Coast communities affected by the bushfires.

We were thrilled to see Kiama families and local businesses support this musical event.  Without volunteers in our community, these and similar events would not exist.  The Rotary Club of Kiama is one of these many volunteer organisations.

Here are just a few of the projects the Rotary Club of Kiama has supported in the last year:

  • National Youth Science Forum, two Kiama High School students, sponsored; (pictured below).
  • Elimination of Rheumatic Heart Disease – Northern Territory and Timor Leste;
  • Exercise Classes for people living with Parkinson’s in the Kiama Municipality;
  • Local Rotary Youth Leadership Awards;
  • Financial Support for Mission Australia’s Triple Care Farm at Knight’s Hill;
  • Shelter Box purchases for transport to Disaster Zones;
  • Madang Hospital Kitchen (PNG) refurbishment from recycled materials from Kiama Hospital;
  • Mental Health First Aid Certificate Courses – Kiama High School;
  • Free Skin Screening Clinics for Kiama Municipality residents.

Here’s a thought – 2020 is the Year to Volunteer – a new decade, a new beginning and new opportunities.  If you are thinking about a volunteer’s role in 2020, The Rotary Club of Kiama would be delighted to welcome you into our Rotary family.

All you need to be is service-minded, have a sense of humour and willingness to be involved.  Call John Clarke (0419 546 094).

Kiama Leagues Club Supports Rotary Bush Fire Appeal

Congratulations to Kiama Leagues Club for their generous donation after an outstanding result from the afternoon tea last week. The afternoon tea was well supported by residents, members and club management working together in support of Bushfire victims. Once again- Thank you to Marilyn for collecting the cheque.

ROTARY AND POLIO

Kiama Rotary Club on the Move to end Polio

Poliomyelitis, or polio, is a paralyzing and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in some parts of the world. Poliovirus invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in hours. It can strike people of any age but mainly affects children under five. Polio can be prevented by vaccines, but it is not curable. Unlike most diseases, polio can be eradicated. 

PolioPlus
For more than 30 years, Rotary and our partners have driven the effort to eradicate polio worldwide. Our PolioPlus program was the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication by vaccinating children on a massive scale. As a core partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary focuses on advocacy, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and awareness-building.

Rotary members have contributed $1.9 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease. Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $8 billion to the effort.

Polio Today
With our partners, we have reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent, from 350,000 cases in 125 countries in 1988 to just 33 cases caused by the wild virus in 2018. Only two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan. The infrastructure we helped build to end polio is also being used to treat and prevent other diseases and create lasting impact in other areas of public health.

Challenges
Rotary and our partners have made tremendous progress against polio, but eliminating all cases is going to take even more progress and perseverance. Afghanistan and Pakistan face unique challenges, including political insecurity, highly mobile populations, difficult terrain, and, in some instances, logistical barriers. With sufficient resources, the commitment of national governments, and innovations that improve access to remote areas, we are optimistic that we can eliminate polio.

Ensuring Success
Rotary has committed to raising $50 million per year for polio eradication. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total commitment of $150 million each year. These funds provide much-needed operational support, medical workers, laboratory equipment, and educational materials. Governments, corporations, and private donors all play a crucial role in funding.

Rotary in Action
More than 1 million Rotary members have donated their time and money to eradicate polio, and every year, hundreds of member’s work with health workers to vaccinate children in countries affected by polio. Rotary members work with UNICEF and other partners to prepare and distribute informational materials for people in areas that are isolated by conflict, geography, or poverty. They also mobilize to recruit fellow volunteers, assist in transporting the vaccine, and provide other logistical support.