Rotarians Against Malaria (RAM) is a multi-district program of RAWCS. Through RAM committees in each of the 21 Rotary Districts in Australia funds are raised to support programs to control and ultimately eliminate malaria in our near neighbour countries.
“The prevention of mortality, and a reduction in morbidity and social and economic loss caused by malaria through a progressive improvement and strengthening of local and national capabilities in malaria control.”
RAM works to support and cooperate with the Ministry of Health authorities in each country and cooperates with and compliments the work of other non-Government organisations (NGOs) most notably the Global Fund to fight AIDs Tuberculosis & Malaria (Global Fund).The main approach to protecting vulnerable populations has been the widespread distribution of long lasting insecticidal bed nets (LLINs).
RAM grew from initial proposals by Dr Brian Handley of the Rotary Club of Chatswood D9680 in the early 1990’s in response to a surge in malaria incidence following the control programs, based on DDT, being discontinued.
RAM was launched at Tulagi in the Solomon Islands as a project of the Rotary Club of Honiara and D9600 in 1995 and in 1997 Ron Seddon and the Rotary Club of Port Moresby D9600 initiated the Adopt a Village program (AAV) to encourage Australian Rotary Clubs to fund bed nets on a village by village basis and this was also successfully applied in the Solomons. RAWCS adopted RAM as an approved multi-district project in 1998. In 2005 RAM commenced supporting the National Malaria Control Program in Timor Leste.
In PNG RAM funded and distributed 250,000 LLINs before the Global Fund arrived in 2004 and since then has been involved with distributing and/or sourcing a further 9,000,000 LINNs financed by the Global Fund. RAM has been the designated distribution Agent for the Global Fund in PNG since 2009. This work has resulted in an overall 45% reduction in the incidence of malaria and >70% reduction in some provinces.
In the Solomon Islands RAM provided 180,000 LLINs before the Global Fund, Australian Government (DFAT) and the Solomons Ministry of Health took over. In response RAM has developed the complimentary ‘Healthy Villages’ program where tools are supplied to villages with MoH approved programs to conduct earth works aimed at reducing mosquito breeding sites. The combination of these programs has seen an overall 75% reduction in malaria incidence with 2 provinces at the pre-elimination stage.
Since 2006, when the incidence of malaria in Timor Leste was 220 per 1000 people, RAM has provided 75,000 LLINs to assist the National Malaria Control Program and back up the work conducted by the Global Fund and the World Health Organisation (WHO). This work has seen the incidence of malaria reduced to less than 1 in 1000 and 5 of the 13 Health Districts deemed to be at pre-elimination stage.
RAM holds an annual conference to up-date representatives on the latest research on malaria and on the progress of RAM programs in each country. The conference also is the venue for strategic planning. The conference is open to all with an interest in defeating malaria.
More information, photos, detailed reports and details of the annual conference and Malaria Awareness Day, 30 April, can be found on the RAM website http://www.ram.rawcs.com.au/
Pictured: RAWCS Eastern Region Rotary Volunteers distributing LLINs in Timor Leste 2014