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Recycling hospital beds from Perth to Apia
Tim Dawe Rotary Club of West Perth,
West Perth Rotary began a new international aid project with a shipment of hospital beds to Apia in Samoa.
The Medical Equipment Recycling Committee (MERC) aims to collect unused or unwanted medical equipment for shipment to developing countries.
West Perth Rotarian and nurse, Jill Smith, is the inspiration and driving force behind her club’s MERC project. She also chairs Western RAWCS’ Donations in Kind committee.
Ms Smith heads the Haemophilia Centre of WA at Royal Perth Hospital and is a tireless worker committed to improving the plight of haemophilia sufferers in southern Africa.
Each year she visits Lesotho – at her own expense – to train nurses and provide medical supplies.
“It appals me to see poorly equipped clinics in less developed countries when our hospitals in Australia throw out mountains of unused or very serviceable equipment,” she said.
“With the willing support of West Perth Rotary we are able to expand our horizons and really make a difference.”
Ms Smith, an enthusiastic member of the recycling team at RPH, challenged senior management to identify and release unwanted medical equipment for overseas donations.
The result was a ‘‘discovery’’ at RPH of a trove of more than 100 Joyce Austral hospital beds stacked in a former hospital ward due for demolition.
The redundant, manually operated beds in excellent working order had been unused and unwanted for five years since electrically operated beds were introduced.
Where to send the beds was quickly resolved with a proposal by Heirisson Club Rotarians, Di and Colin Gilbert, who were alerted to the need for beds when they visited their niece, Fiona, a resident of Apia, Samoa.
“Not only is there a severe shortage of beds in the Apia hospital but in some hospitals and clinics in outlying islands, patients are sleeping on the floor,” Mrs Gilbert said.
With all the connections made and the Apia Rotary club signed up to receive and distribute the beds, things swiftly came to a conclusion.
A working party of Rotarians and friends painstakingly manoeuvred the beds via corridors and lifts to waiting trucks on their circuitous journey to warehouse, seatainer and wharf.
Rotarians and friends provided their voluntary labour while all services, including shipping, were donated by generous corporate supporters.
One of the volunteers, RPH mechanical fitter Rade Grozdanovski, who maintains the beds for the hospital, said with a chuckle: “I’m just pleased to see them go. But even more pleased that they are going for such a good cause.”
West Perth Rotary President Guy Mattioli, in thanking Ms Smith and all involved, said how proud he was of the project and its exciting future. He announced an ambitious plan to expand MERC to become the principal collection and distribution agent in Western Australia for medical equipment donations (DIK) to developing countries.
“Rotary is well known for service at a national, international and, in the case of eradicating polio, at a global level,” he said
“But what we have done in this project is all about facilitation – linking people and resources – and getting things done; that is what Rotary does best.”
Picture: Jill Smith with helpers, Bill Young, left, Brad Baker and Christine Gray, all of the Rotary Club of West Perth, and Rade Grozdanovski, of Royal Perth Hospital.
borrowed from Rotary Down Under
A Rotary Friendship Team from D5050 arrives in Perth on April 17th for a 14 day visit. While in Western Australia they will visit Margaret River and the Kalgoorlie Goldfields and spend time in the Perth Metro area as well. The reciprocal visit to Canada/USA departs late June 2009
Rotary Youth Exchange in Australia