Rotary Centenary Project Closing The Gap

Students of Hermannsburg (Ntaria) school in the Northern Territory learning about trachoma. Photo credit: Arianna Claridge.

 

THIS year Rotary is celebrating its centenary.

Rotary clubs throughout Australia will not only be celebrating this milestone but will exercise the opportunity to further contribute to their communities and provide help to those in need.

Helen Ryan past District Governor of Rotary told News Of The Area, “Here in the Bay the Rotary clubs of Nelson Bay and Salamander Bay will be acknowledging the centenary by partnering with the Port Stephens Council to supply one hundred trees to be planted by local Public-School children around the Tom Dyer Oval in Nelson Bay.

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“In addition, the clubs will be holding a fund-raising raffle the proceeds of which through Rotary Australia will go to the Australian Trachoma Alliance which is a network of organizations including the World Health Organization, Australian Governments, and Indigenous authorities in their endeavour to specifically eliminate Trachoma here in Australia.”

Trachoma is a serious eye infection which is spread by personal contact (hands, towels and clothes) and if not treated can lead to permanent blindness.

Australia is the only developed nation in the world that has trachoma.

Addressing Trachoma is an important initiative which will also address closing the gap for Indigenous Australians.

Throughout Australia the infection is identified as prevalent in a number of remote Aboriginal communities.

It is Rotary Australia’s objective to supply individual hygiene kits and education to affected regions throughout Australia so as to completely eliminate the disease.

To raise funds to assemble the health and hygiene kits Rotary are holding a raffle in the Salamander Centre over four consecutive days (29 March – 1 April).

The raffle will consist of a wheelbarrow full of goods and services supplied by a large number of local businesses with the value of the one only prize is now expected to exceed $2000.00.

“Rotary wishes to sincerely thank the local business houses for their generosity, and at the same time invite the Tomaree community to help Rotary help others by buying a ticket or two in the Trachoma Raffle, which will be drawn on 10 April.”

Just last year, the World Health Organization announced there had been a 91 per cent reduction in trachoma prevalence over the past 18 years – a sign of significant progress.

The Fred Hollows Foundation adopts the World Health Organization’s SAFE strategy (surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental change) in tackling this painful disease.

The Foundation has always taken Fred’s approach of involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the health programs that affect them, because they know their communities best.

We are also proud that community organisations such as Rotary, with whom we have a longstanding history, are supporting efforts to eliminate trachoma.

We believe trachoma can be eliminated as a public health problem if we focus our efforts and work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

 

By Marian SAMPSON

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