Support for ROMAC
International Director Ken Foggo introduced Wilma McBain from ROMAC – Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children. Wilma is a member of the District 9455 ROMAC committee, who has previously been awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to children with cleft lip and palate and craniofacial problems, so the work of ROMAC is very close to her heart.
ROMAC is a combined Australia and New Zealand Rotary project, which provides medical treatment to children from developing countries in the form of life saving or dignity restoring surgery, which is not available to them in their home countries. It is a not-for-profit humanitarian organisation managed and operated entirely by volunteers for administration, operational support, promotion, fundraising, patient support, finding host families, casual driving, visiting, airport greeters and carers.
Since 1988, ROMAC has provided treatment to over 500 children up to 15 years of age from Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga and Fiji. ROMAC sponsors transporting 40 to 50 of these children per annum to Australian and New Zealand hospitals. The conditions have included separation of conjoined twins, fractures, tumours, encephaloceles (protrusions of the brain through the skull), club feet, burns, heart conditions and scoliosis.
The cost of this treatment is enormous with one day in ICU being $6000 for the bed alone. Triage is done carefully in the home countries to ensure funds are spent wisely. COVID-19 has had a serious impact on the program.