Rotary Clubs aim to minimise home accidents for children this year

Thursday, February 19, 2009
Issue 617, Page 5
Word count: 677
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Rotary Club of Macau and Hong Kong will in this year have their heads working on reducing mortality and home accidents for children, the district governor said yesterday.

Speaking at the press conference in Macau to introduce the forthcoming annual district conference, Albert Wong, the governor for Rotary International District 3450 covering Hong Kong, Macau and Mongolia, said the “Childhood Home Injury Prevention Program” was their latest project that was just launched on Tuesday.

“Although Hong Kong and Macau provide very comprehensive health services for newborns and children so they are less vulnerable to diseases, a lot of children got injured or even lost their lives in home accidents,” Mr Wong said.

According to the findings of the survey conducted by the Hong Kong Paediatric Foundation and Rotary International District 3450 between November 2008 and January this year, about 170 children died from various kinds of accidents every day.

Of which, home accidents accounted for 70 lives or 40 percent, a figure higher than the number of children killed by cancers at about 30 on an annual basis.

Among the nearly 1,300 respondents who had at least one child aged six or below in Hong Kong and Macau, 61 percent said their children had been injured in home accidents and 25 percent of them required hospitalisation.

“Despite the advanced health care, many parents will overlook the safety issue of children at home,” Mr Wong said.

Echoing the theme of the year 2008 – 2009 “Make Dreams Real”, District 3450 has also carried out projects including the “Adopt-A-School Program”, blood donation day in collaboration with the Macau Blood Transfusion Centre and also the “Hepatitis B Project in China” in which 700,000 infants out of the one million targeted had already received vaccination.

With regards to the “Adopt-A-School Program”, Rotary Clubs of Macau, Macau Central, Taipa and Guia have adopted their partnering schools Escola Sao Paulo, Sheng Kung Hui Escola Choi Kou (Macau), Instituto Salesiano and Colegio Diocesano de Sao Jose respectively in an attempt to provide a tutoring service for high school students.

On February 21 and February 22, about 500 Rotary Clubs members from District 3450 will gather in Macau to attend the 49th annual conference which is hosted by Rotary Club of Macau.

With the theme “Realise and Manage Change”, the district governor said the forum would address the impact of the global financial crisis on their service projects and future plans.

“At first I was a bit worried that our members might not be able to carry on the services as a result of the economic downturn. But then I saw they’re still insisting on the projects without delays,” Mr Wong said.

“We even had 12 new members joining us last week which was quite surprising as the decrease in enrollment is smaller than what we had expected in face of the current economic climate,” he added.

Meanwhile, the two-day conference at the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel will also see members of Rotaract (adults between 18 and 30 years old) and Interact Clubs (youth between 14 and 18 years old) share with attendees their hopes and commitments to society.

When asked what the implication was behind the theme “Realise and Manage Change”, the district governor told the Macau Daily Times it had a “special meaning of unity”.

“We hope that this year’s annual conference will be different from the previous ones where works were only done within the district and involvement from individual clubs was small,” he said.

“I personally put a lot of emphasis on team spirit. I believe a district governor can never complete a project on his own, and thus the success also belongs to presidents and members of the 47 Rotary Clubs in Hong Kong as well as the six Rotary Clubs in Macau,” he added.

Mr Wong also said that since the Sichuan earthquake devastated the Chinese province in May last year, his district had donated HK$3 million for post quake relief, in addition to professional services provided for victims such as in the field of architecture, counselling and medicine.

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