Meeting of the Red Cross Board
Last Friday and Saturday we held the Australian Red Cross Society Board meeting. The Board meets every two months on average. The Board members are a passionate and committed group of people who all volunteer their time and dedicate their knowledge, expertise and perspectives. We have a diverse Board. Men and women, young and old and with a mix of expertise (from international experience to financial expertise) along with a mix of life experiences (former refugees, volunteers, members, small business people, Blood Service representatives and people from the social and the corporate sectors). In other words, a rich mix of committed individuals who take their role to govern and steer Red Cross very seriously.
This blog outlines a few of the bigger items we covered.
Blood Service Microbiome pilot
This is an extract from CEO of the Blood Service, Shelly Park's blog from 3 September 2019:
“I’m delighted to share that our Blood Service Microbiome pilot was approved to move into the pilot phase by the Blood Service Board on 20 August, and then the Red Cross Board last Friday (as this is non-deed work our governance required that both Boards approve this).
"This exciting new business line will see us provide Fiona Stanley Hospital in Western Australia with a reliable supply of faecal microbiota transplants to treat patients suffering from the debilitating and life-threatening recurrent Clostridium difficile infection. We’ll also supply product for research in Western Australia into other conditions which may benefit such as Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s Disease, and develop a plan to potentially supply clinical trials and research programs nationally. This new business initiative has a real potential to help many Australians live their best lives and to reduce burden on the healthcare system.”
How did we go last year?
The second major focus for the Board was reviewing our performance for the financial year just finished and talking about what we learnt and what we’re changing as a result. It was a year of ups and downs. While some of the downs were tough there were also fantastic humanitarian outcomes. Here are just three examples – we’ll have more in our annual report after it audited and approved by the Board at the next meeting.
Emergencies and disasters. In the past year we supported nearly 65,000 Australians affected by 51 emergencies and disasters (25 fires, 4 floods, 3 cyclones, 3 heatwaves and 16 collective trauma events). We showed people how to get prepared, we provided personal support at the scene and made follow-up welfare visits in the weeks afterwards. We also sent 87 aid workers to support emergency operations in 36 countries, provided 7,452 grants worth $11.5 million in total to farming families facing drought, and trained over 38,000 people in first aid.
Supporting thousands of refugees and asylum seekers throughout the year to settle into Australia and to support them in difficult times. We also worked with more than 1000 families who had lost contact with 2,348 loved ones due to conflict, migration or disaster.
Some 1.9 million Australians did their bit for humanity through the year with us; volunteers, members and donors contributing to or supporting initiatives in their communities across the country. It included volunteers who are experts in the ‘laws of war’ using the blood thirsty acts of violence in the TV series Game of Thrones, to explain the laws of war to new audiences. This great work had a cumulative global reach of some 6.5 million people.