AFTER three years of tireless fundraising, the Karrinyup Rotary Club has put another EarBus on the road to help stop curable ear disease in remote WA.
Earbus Foundation WA chief executive Paul Higginbotham said the foundation provided mobile ear health clinics inside buses that travel to regional areas, with the aim of reducing chronic ear disease in children living in remote communities.
“When Earbus Foundation first visited sites in the East Pilbara, the rates of infection were close to 20 per cent,” he said.
“At one primary school in the Goldfields, 35 Aboriginal children had serious ear issues. This has now been reduced to one or two children per visit.
“Our aim is to stop ear disease developing into an avoidable hearing loss.
“Children who can’t hear can’t learn, so it is critically important for Aboriginal children not to be missing out on an education due to a preventable disease.”
Karrinyup Rotary Club president Heather Leaney said she was proud another EarBus would soon head to the Kimberley region.
“It is such a great cause to support and probably the biggest project we have undertaken,” she said.
“This would not have been possible without the money raised from stallholders and customers at the Stirling Farmers Market and the private donations we received.”
Ms Leaney said the total cost of the EarBus was about $225,000, but the generosity of private donations was appreciated.
“One Rotary member who was on holiday in Victoria was chatting to someone about the bus and the next thing we know there is an anonymous $15,000 cheque. He didn’t have a clue who he was and that really kicked off our fundraising efforts,” she said.
“When we brought people from the EarBus Foundation to speak to people, they got inspired and they quite generously donate their time and money to the project in many different ways.”
Mr Higginbotham said last spring was the first time chronic ear disease in the Goldfields and Pilbara regions fell below the World Health Organisation benchmark of 4 per cent.