Message from the Chairman
ROMAC is a complex charity which relies heavily on a group of widely skilled and dedicated Rotary volunteers. The charity’s sole focus is on bringing children from our neighbouring Oceania countries to Australia or New Zealand for life saving and/or dignity restoring medical treatment.
To enable this, we need carers and operational managers but also people with marketing, fundraising and communication skills to ensure we have physical and financial support. We need this diverse support base to be integrated and to work together on common objectives to collectively treat our target number of patients each year.
We have 7 Regional Committees, 4 with District Committees and 1 National management structure comprising the Board and other key office bearers, including representatives from the Regional Committees. Our National Committees meet online each month and then, once a year come together for a three-day face-to-face Workshop.
Our 2023 Workshop was held in Adelaide from 2 – 5 November and was considered by all to be very productive. We finalised our new Strategic Plan with targets and identified our key performance indicators to treat 32 patients in the next twelve months. This was quite a clarifying process because it clearly demonstrated the need for all the different sections of the organisation to integrate and work closely with each other in order to achieve our desired outcomes. It not only clarified individual roles but also identified the need for more support people at the National level.
Specifically, we need more volunteers with IT, marketing, communication and fundraising backgrounds and skills, as well as people who are prepared to work closely with a group of Rotary Clubs to get more Clubs supporting ROMAC. Anyone with these sorts of skills and an interest in doing something really good for unfortunate children from our neighbouring countries should contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holding the Workshop in Adelaide enabled us to have the local software developer, who is currently upgrading our online patient information system eHR, to address the team, sort out our concerns and clarify ways forward.
We also had the Rotary insurance organisation, AON, speak to the group about coverage of our patients. This has led us to investigate new specific travel and accident insurance for our patients and their carers, which will be another overhead for ROMAC. The rest of our time in Adelaide was used in reviewing and upgrading our processes and procedures and reconsidering our structure in the light of Rotary’s Regionalisation project. And of course, for developing collegial relationships.
We held the 2023 ROMAC Annual General Meeting online by Zoom on Sunday 12 November. It was attended by the Board, our District Governor Representatives Representatives and 22 Rotary volunteers and supporters.
Senri is progressing well attending school, working hard on his vigorous daily physiotherapy and enjoying spending time with fellow students from Kimberley College. Recently with encouragement from his teachers and fellow classmates Senri presented to his peers at a school assembly.
He spoke with passion about his life in the Solomons, his family and friends on the island. Telling his story of how he injured his hands was very emotional but he is very grateful for the help and support he has received from ROMAC, Teachers and support team at Kimberley College, fellow students and many Rotarians and Rotary Clubs.
Senri will continue his education at Kimberley College until the end of term 4 and work hard on his hand physiotherapy as he will return to the Solomon Islands and be home with his family and friends for Christmas.
New Zealand Receives New Patients from Vanuatu
Doctor John Sterling identified two children needing treatment they could not get in their own country at one of the recent heart clinics he held in Vanuatu. ROMAC agreed to bring these children to New Zealand, at the same time on 16 November 2023, to be treated in Starship Hospital in Auckland. Both children need relatively straightforward procedures and ROMAC thought it would be beneficial for their mothers to have the company of each other for support.
Five-year-old Diana will be treated for congenital heart disease. She has a moderately large opening between two blood vessels leading from her heart (patent ductus arteriosus). The opening’s closure will be percutaneous, which is a less invasive procedure using a catheter to deliver devices to the heart. Diana and her mother Christine are being hosted by the Rotary Club of Remuera.
Twenty-month-old Fransisca and her mother Faina are being hosted by the Rotary Club of Downtown Auckland. Franscisca has a very large patent ductus arteriosus, with mild pulmonary hypertension. She will also have a percutaneous closure.
Both of these children are going to their pre-op assessment clinic on Monday after which surgery dates will be scheduled.