Lift the Lid on Mental Illness is Australian Rotary Health’s National annual fundraising day for mental health research.

The campaign, founded by ARH Vice Chairman Greg Ross, started in 2016 in partnership with Rotary Clubs of Victoria. The event was such a success that it has now been extended to all Rotary Clubs across Australia.

Each year approximately 1-in-5 Australians will experience a mental illness and in order to help future generations of young Australians, we need to look ahead through research and find out how we can prevent this type of illness occurring.

You can support this wonderful initiative by making a donation on World Mental Health Day, Tuesday October 10 to your local Rotary Club or to Australian Rotary Health. As we are also celebrating Hat Day, you are invited to hold an event and wear your most eye-catching hat.

For further information, please contact the Australian Rotary Health office on: (02) 8837 1900 or admin@arh.org.au

 
ARH Chairman Greg Ross encourages everyone to Lift the Lid on Mental Illness by adopting a scientist.
 

 

ROMAC commenced in March 1988 out of the actions of an Australian Rotarian who, with a group of surgeons, visited Lambasa in Fiji. They found the child mortality rate as high as 25% in some places. They quickly identified that lack of medical and surgical facilities and skills for children of the island nations in Oceania, was a major cause. Rotary faced the challenge to assist an 18-year-old Fijian girl whose right leg was threatened if immediate surgery was not performed.

Ken has life-saving surgery

Ken lives with his family in a remote village in the Solomon Islands where they have no running water or electricity. He was born prematurely at 6 months so he was taken by canoe to a clinic and then transported to hospital, where he spent the next 3 months. However, over time, his heart started to fail. Sydney cardiologist Dr James Weaver, who was visiting the Solomon Islands, saw 14-year-old Ken in January 2017 and was concerned he would not survive much longer without treatment. He referred him to ROMAC. Ken was flown to Sydney for major heart surgery at the Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick in May. His operation went well under the care of cardiologist Doctor Forsey and he returned to the Solomon Islands to attend school, play soccer with his friends and enjoy a happy, healthy life.

 

More Patients Stories from Solomon Islands

  1. Kachico can smile again and now has a future

Christella 

Christella was a happy little 3-year-old girl in Vanuatu until one day in November 2016 her legs and feet were so severely burnt by boiling water she could not stand or walk. She was brought to Sydney by ROMAC to be treated for her burns at Westmead Hospital.

After skillful specialist treatment, much love and care from ROMAC volunteers and a stay at Ronald McDonald House, she walked home to her family in February 2017, a happy girl once more.

More Patients Stories from Vanuatu

  1. No more hiding Zoe’s face under a blanket
  2. Cyclone Pam flattened 6-month-old Christine’s home
  3. A Tiny Tot From Vanuatu Now has a Future

An estimated 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation facilities that hygienically separate human excreta from human contact. Rotarian Alfredo Pérez knows the schools in Guatemala and neighboring countries can use all the help available in this area.

The Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools Target Challenge focuses on providing clean water and sanitation systems, and equipping teachers to educate students on better hygiene practices.

 

So, when Carlos Flores, then governor of District 4250 (Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras), asked Pérez in 2016 to get involved with the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools Target Challenge, he quickly accepted. As the name suggests, the pilot program focuses on providing clean water and sanitation systems, and equipping teachers to educate students on better hygiene practices.

“The objective of the project is to develop good hygiene habits in children,” Pérez says. “By reducing absenteeism due to diseases that are acquired due to lack of water, sanitation, and hygiene in schools, we can increase their academic development. Training teachers to help children develop good hygiene habits is key.”

Indeed, more than a year after the effort began, the Rotary Club of Valle de Guatemala, where Pérez is a member, has improved conditions for as many as 1,793 children from 10 schools in the town of Escuintla, about 40 miles south of Guatemala City, the capital. 

Corporación Energías de Guatemala, an energy company, backed the project with a $62,000 grant. Pérez’s club and the Rotary Club of Escuintla worked with local public health officials and urban and rural planners. The project provided toilets, washing stations, and water tanks, and also supported training for teachers so that the facilities would be put to good use.

This year, members of Pérez’s club have a budget of $30,000 for work at five more schools. 

Pérez is giving talks around his country in hopes of recruiting more clubs to take up the challenge in their communities, and he’s seeking international partners to help expand the program.

Educators tell Rotarians that fewer students now miss school because of gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses, which sometimes spread by poor hand washing or lack of safe water.

–Jenny Espino

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Ipswich North

Service Above Self

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