Rotary Club of Rockingham donates medical equipment to East Timor

Harry and Jacqui Smith and Peter and Beth Phillips sort out medical supplies to be shipped to East Timor.
Harry and Jacqui Smith and Peter and Beth Phillips sort out medical supplies to be shipped to East Timor.

A ROTARY international project that is collecting medical equipment throughout the Peel region is quietly continuing to help people in third world countries.

Last month a consignment of walking frames from the Rockingham hospital was shipped out to East Timor, Rotarian Peter Phillips said.

“We had a truck jam-packed full of gear and that went up to the Kent Street High School where the container was being loaded,” he said.

“It goes from there to the wharf then off to Timor.”

It was the second load of vital medical supplies that the Rotary Club of Rockingham had sent to the country already this year.

The club has been running the project since 2007 and received an international significant achievement award in 2015.

It is always accumulating and sorting supplies, ranging from children’s books through to endoscopy equipment, bandages, sterile gloves, beds, walking frames and paediatric feeding tubes.

Sorting out the equipment last week was former theatre nurse Jacqui Smith who also worked extensively as a nurse in several third world countries.

Mrs Smith said the feeding tubes were particularly valuable to help provide nutrients for malnourished youngsters so they could be fit enough to undergo cleft pallet surgery.

She said supplies were sent overseas as soon as enough money had been raised to send containers

Project co-ordinator Beth Phillips said it cost $6000 to send a container from Perth to East Timor because there was no direct shipping route.

“We haven’t yet found a steady donor and the shipping companies are good but they have a business to run,” she said.

“Some of the photos we get back of what people have to cope with just break your heart.”

Last year the club shipped a cardiac catheterization laboratory to Karachi, Pakistan after it was decommissioned from the Fremantle Hospital.

“This was a first for our Club and we have learned many lessons that will assist us should we ever be in a position to repeat this exercise,” Mrs Phillips said.

“I would like to thank those members who continue to contribute to this project, in particular to my husband, Peter, who is tireless in collecting and distributing items locally and who gives more than his fair share of time and effort.”