The ‘Rotary Hospital-Bed Bank’ project for southern Chile was developed jointly between Rotary Club of Valdivia-Ainil (R.I. District 4335) and Rotary Club of Port Melbourne (R.I. District 9800) in 2013. To date 204 beds have been provided with another 60 to be shipped very soon.
Chile is a country in transition, from very poor to one of the leading economies in Latin America. This translates into more car ownership, more mechanization of farms and factories and more unhealthy foods, resulting in more accidents and lesser health.
The public health system does not stretch to palliative care and in any case, end-of-life care, is traditionally done by the family in the family home. The problem is acute, just one example illustrates it well; car fatalities in Chile are 11.1 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with 5 per 100,000 in Australia, more than double.
Rotary is uniquely positioned to help address the problem in both a practical and inexpensive manner. It works as follows; Victorian hospitals donate their old beds to Rotary’s Donation in Kind (DIK) which operates a warehouse in West Footscray. Then Rotary Club of Port Melbourne and DIK donate the beds to Rotary clubs in Chile.
Hospitals contact a local Rotary Club to advice of a patient being returned to the family for palliative care. The club then loans, a bed, a walker, a shower chair and commode to the stricken family.
The equipment is returned to Rotary once the family no longer requires it. It is then cleaned and made ready for delivery to the next unfortunate palliative case. Hence the project being named a ‘bank’.
The participating clubs estimate a need to operate with 400 beds to help around 1,200 patients per year. We are confident this can be reached by end of 2017 and much, much earlier if there are any other D9800 clubs looking for a great international project to get involved with!
If so, please contact President Paul Kildea at Rotary Club of Port Melbourne on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The project costs so far total approximately US$30,000 with the majority of this being raised by Rotary Club of Port Melbourne, Chilean Rotarians, R.I. District 4355 and Chilean corporate donors via the Chilean Consulate General in Melbourne.