Medical Aid for Oceania

Becher Foundation Logo      MAfO logo                        Ramsay Health LogoMedical Aid for Oceania and Worldwide is an international aid project registered with the Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) and managed by the Rotary Club of Berrima District in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.
Surplus-to-requirements medical equipment is collected from hospitals and medical practices around Australia and shipped to communities in need. The Club’s principal partner in the project is Ramsay Health Care. A secondary aim of the project is to dispose of superseded goods in an environmentally responsible manner.

How it began

In late 2010 the Southern Highlands Private Hospital made available a number of beds and other hospital equipment that it wished to donate. The goods were loaded by the Club into a 40-foot container and shipped to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva, Fiji. Following a second, similar shipment a year later, the Suva hospital was able to establish a short-term mental health facility and a much-needed maternity ward.
We discovered that this need for basic equipment (and ultimately for more sophisticated equipment) was so prevalent in developing countries that a regular project could be developed.

Young lives have been saved by the donation of humidicribs.

Young lives have been saved by the donation of humidicribs.

In 2012 we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ramsay Health Care under which its 70 Australian hospitals would offer surplus equipment to us on a regular basis for shipment to under-resourced medical facilities in the Oceania region and beyond. Medical Aid for Oceania and Worldwide was registered as a project with RAWCS.

Our container arrives in Uvira, DRC.

Our container arrives in Uvira, DRC

One of several ultrasound machines shipped by MAfO.

One of several ultrasound machines shipped by MAfO.

How it is today

Since then we have shipped a range of consumables and equipment, including anaesthetic and x-ray machines, theatre gowns and uniforms, orthopaedic and physio equipment, ventilators, humidicribs, ECG machines, ultrasound machines and operating theatre lights to overseas hospitals and clinics (and occasionally to rural and remote areas of Australia). Destinations have included Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Solomon Islands, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The equipment is shipped under strict guidelines, based on World Health Organisation guidelines, that ensure it is safe, in good working order, still has a useful life and is accompanied by all necessary accessories and operating manuals.

Uvira community unloads the container.

Uvira community unloads the container.

Working under the umbrella of RAWCS Eastern Region, we ship full container loads and smaller consignments directly to their destinations. We have collaborated with Rotary clubs in Burwood, Tamworth, Greenhills-Maitland, Illawarra Sunrise, Mosman, Hunters Hill, Raymond Terrace, South Nowra, Albury West, Moruya and Bella Vista in NSW, as well as Joondalup in WA and Cairns in Qld and the RAWCS Northern Region in Brisbane. All of these have contributed to the local transport of donated equipment and the loading and shipping of containers to overseas Rotary clubs and other consignees.

What began as an isolated local project has grown into a regular overseas aid program which is making a real difference to people’s health in developing countries and regions. Equipment continues to be donated by Ramsay Health Care but also by numerous other sources including private and public hospitals and private medical practices.

How you can help

Tax deductible donations can be made to support Medical Aid for Oceania by going to https://donations.rawcs.com.au/Default.aspx?ProjectID=670&ReturnTo+4 and completing the Project donation form.
Options for payment include Credit Card, Direct Debit or Cheque.

Alternatively, donations can be made by direct deposit to:
The Rotary Australia Overseas Aid Fund,
BSB 067-105, Account Number 10402452
OR

by cheque made out to the ‘Rotary Australia Overseas Aid Fund’ and posted to:
The Treasurer RAWCS,
PO Box 3168, Parramatta NSW 2124.
In either case the Medical Aid for Oceania Project Number 48/2012-13 must be quoted and a postal address provided to which the tax deductible receipt will be sent.

All donations will be gratefully acknowledged in promotional material produced in support of the project.

Traditional Congo midwives and new mothers receive blankets from the container.

Traditional Congo midwives and new mothers receive blankets from the container.

For further information contact:

John Macpherson, Project Manager, 0409 122 141 or greymac@acenet.com.au
Barry Barford, Deputy Project Manager, 0418 219 926 or barry.barford@gmail.com