ROMAC is the acronym for
“Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children”
and is a combined Australia and New Zealand Multi-district Rotary project.
ROMAC has been in operation for
over 30 years.
Rotarians volunteer their time and expertise to run this Rotary project that encompasses all the Districts of Australia and New Zealand.Assisted by many eminent Australian and New Zealand surgeons who generously donate their time for the treatment of our patients, this humanitarian program has provided life-giving surgery to over 500 children from more than 20 developing countries, with urgent medical treatment that was not available to them in their own country.
First and foremost, ROMAC is quite a rare not-for-profit humanitarian organisation being run entirely with volunteers – no paid staff, no leased offices and so, it has minimal fixed costs. We can proudly state that every dollar donated goes to Giving Life and our small expenses are recovered from our investments.
ROMAC comprises a five-member Board, plus an Operations committee of eight, which includes the six Regional Chairs across Australia and New Zealand. The Regional committee then coordinates through District Chairs and their committees, which align and work closely with local Rotary Clubs.
The core of our organisation is life-giving surgery and our process begins with a referral of a child from overseas (or visiting Australia/New Zealand doctors) directly into the ROMAC database. From this single form, the Medical and Operation’s Directors evaluate, in collaboration with specialist Regional Medical Consultants, whether the referred child meets the ROMAC guidelines and what Region may be able to provide the necessary surgery.
All in all, our team in Australia and New Zealand is nearing 200 totally voluntary individuals plus Rotarians and medical personnel who support ROMAC in the nations we serve. These are people who help with passport and visa applications, finding and communicating with our potential patients, organising medical checks and ensuring they are on time to board their plane.
ROMAC enjoys and appreciates the support of its patrons and ambassadors who generously promote the work and ideals of ROMAC – “To provide medical treatment for children from developing countries in the form of lifesaving and/or dignity restoring surgery not accessible to them in their home country”.
A feature of ROMAC which has grown greatly in recent years is the support we receive from groups now resident in Australia but previously from many of the countries from which our patients originate. Families from Fiji, Solomon Islander, Timor Leste, Vietnam etc are all enthusiastic supporters of ROMAC. Everyday somewhere in Australia or New Zealand a Rotarian or a member of one of these groups performs a voluntary act for one of our ROMAC patients.
Whether it be collecting a patient on arrival from the airport, taking a patient to an appointment, visiting a patient in hospital or making an arrangement for a patient to go on a recuperation trip to the country, there is always a volunteer to undertake the task in question.
The increased number of patients being treated in all our regions and districts has placed an increased burden on our Rotarian volunteers but, without exception, they are answering the call and attending to the needs of our patients.
It is true to say that without our volunteers ROMAC could not continue to operate.
ROMAC has a continuing need for new volunteers in all capacities. Offers to be a ROMAC volunteer should be directed to your nearest Regional Manager.
Our non-Rotarian supporters are an invaluable part of our ROMAC organisation. These important contributors act as volunteers and also fundraiser for ROMAC.
Our patients, for the most part, come from Pacific Rim countries such as PNG, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Timor Leste, Vanuatu and Vietnam. The communities resident in Australia’s larger cities of people who have migrated to Australia from these countries have become invaluable supporters of ROMAC.
Major fundraisers bringing in amounts up to $25,000 have been organised by these communities. In addition ROMAC has had the benefit of members of these communities volunteering to transport patients to appointments, act as home hosts, translator etc.
ROMAC could not function without the humanitarian support of host families, volunteer Rotarians and of course the wonderful work of the surgeons and surgical teams in the many major paediatric and specialist hospitals across Australia and New Zealand.
ROMAC is truly indebted to these great supporters.
ROMAC looks forward to continuing its humanitarian work with volunteer Rotarians, and compassionate surgeons. With the continuing moral and financial support from both Rotary clubs, the general public and the corporate sector one day, in the not too distant future, we know will double the number of deserving children and their families whose lives we have changed and saved.