Rotary Club of Blacktown City

ROMAC (Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children) Patient Updates and More

William makes good progress

William, a 15-year-old boy, arrived in October 2022 from Solomon Islands with his sister Mercy. William has multiple large kidney stones in both his kidneys and is undergoing treatment at the Canberra Hospital under the care of Dr Rajay Rampersad. His left kidney has 73% function and the right kidney only 27% function.

To date, William has had three operations to remove the stones on his left kidney with two more surgeries planned on his right. Any surgery on kidneys has limited access time otherwise it goes into spasm and must be rested for a few weeks in between surgery. 

William attends the local high school and enjoys meeting new friends and learning about life in Australia. His sister Mercy supports William, helps around the home and volunteers at Rotary BBQs and at the Canberra Show in the farmyard nursery.

Melenaite Update

Melenaite, our now 8-month-old baby from Tonga, and her mother Michelle arrived in Canberra in July 2022 at just 2 weeks old. She had surgery in July to remove a huge growth on her bottom and required a second operation in August for a recurrent tumor. Then Melenaite needed to have chemotherapy and was taken to Sydney to stay at Ronald McDonald house in Randwick while undergoing four rounds of chemotherapy at Randwick Children’s Hospital.

Chemotherapy was completed in mid January. However, a follow-up magnetic resonance imaging scan indicated Melenaite requires further surgery. This operation will be done in Randwick in Sydney following further tests.

Our Canberra ROMAC carer families Debbie and Greg and Jeff and Gerda, together with ACT Regional Chair Sandra Goldstraw and the Sydney ROMAC team, continue to keep in regular contact with Michelle. Michelle is an amazing 23-year-old mother who takes each day at a time. She is very appreciative of the professional care provided to her baby in Canberra and Sydney Hospitals. She knows she is much loved by her carer Rotary families and our ROMAC teams, who help her cope with life’s challenges.

Transforming the Health of Communities

Pictured: Centre Dr Valerie McGoon flanked by echocardiogram technicians at Starship Hospital, Auckland

Dr Valerie McGoon is a doctor from Vanuatu with a Masters in Paediatrics. During her work with children in Vanuatu and Fiji, she realised she needed to improve her skills in using a type of ultrasound called an echocardiogram (echo) to diagnose heart problems.

Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) and Infective Endocarditis are common heart conditions in children in the South Pacific. Dr McGoon developed a special interest in cardiology when she used to join Dr John Stirling from New Zealand during his yearly echo clinics in Vanuatu.

Thanks to the training component of a ROMAC Global Grant held by Takapuna Rotary Club in New Zealand, Dr McGoon was attached to the Starship Hospital Cardiology Department in Auckland from 6 December 2022 to 10 February 2023 for echo training and experience.

Valerie had the basic concepts of acquiring images but now progressed to carrying out the echo studies herself and formulating the reports, using the Starship screening protocol. In a short span of time, Dr McGoon grasped essential concepts and advanced techniques she could apply every day in her field of medical practice. These will help her gain specialist registration in the future.

Her intention is to start echo screening of pupils in schools in Vanuatu who may have RHD, as well as to implement a screening process for cases referred from Vila and other islands. She also wants to teach other registrars how to perform echos.

Dr McGoon is very grateful for the ROMAC support that enabled her attachment to Starship, and to the echo technicians and cardiologists there who shared their knowledge and skills with her. 

Rotary Club of Blacktown City Inc

Address: PO Box 12, Blacktown, NSW 2148

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