RAM is very pleased to celebrate the presentation of the RAWCS Humanitarian Award to Milton Lewis, for many years of wonderful service to the people of PNG in general health and the control of malaria in particular, and for his contribution to RAM.
Milton himself recalls his career in PNG from the 1950s-70s:
I spent 2 years in my late teens and early 20s in Papua New Guinea. This included a specific period of training about malaria for 6 weeks in a group of Cadet Field Medical Assistants in Minj in the Western Highlands.
After 2 years of walking from village to village, checking on the incidence indicators of the severity of malaria, vaccinating the infants, giving all people in the village an injection of penicillin to rid them of a disease called yaws. I saved all my spare cash, with the intention to enrol in medicine at Adelaide University. There was some support from the PNG Public Health Department on the basis that I would return to work in the Health Department there.
I was appointed as the District Health Officer for Bougainville which had a population of about 80,000 and lived there with my wife and 2 daughters. I then further developed my training with some assistance from the PNG Public Health Department, to get a Dip Public Health at the University of Otago.
After graduating from that course, we returned to PNG, and I was appointed to Mt Hagen as the District Health Officer for the Western Highlands with a population of 250,000 people, responsible for oversight of the programmes of “Maternal and Child Health”, TB Control, and Leprosy Control all carried out by provided staff. I also had to liaise with staff at 3 or 4 small mission hospitals, and provide oversight of the staff at the base hospital and of 1 small sub-district hospital.
After a year or 2 at Mt Hagen I was transferred to Lae, the main township in the Morobe District, with a slightly larger population as the District Health Officer. This was somewhat easier for me because I was familiar with the district from my earlier experience there. I joined the Rotary Club of Lae, and served as Secretary for 1 year. On our permanent return to Australia at the time of independence for PNG (1975), I transferred my Rotary membership to RC Campbelltown (SA), where I have served as Secretary, President, Newsletter Editor, and have been awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship plus a sapphire.
So many years of service! PDG Jerry Casburn RAWCS Central Region Coordinator spoke of Milton’s contribution:
Over a number of years Rotary has had the benefit of the experience and expertise of Milton Lewis, Campbelltown Rotary Club, to lead and motivate the 9500 and 9520 districts for RAM. Milton has put in long hours and travelled both Districts, with the support of wife Jeanette, to promote RAM and raise funds for the national activity. He has actively participated in many District Conferences providing information and support for all facets of RAWCS, including being the principal author and technical writer for several generations of the RAM tri-fold leaflet as well as an active contributor on technical aspects of RAM’s project planning.
Milton was already resident in South Australia and a member of RC Campbelltown when RAM was first initiated in 1992, launched in 1995 and became a multi-district national activity of RAWCS in 1998. In 2016 Milton took over from Roshni Thattingat as RAM Regional Coordinator for Central Region.
RAM supervisor D9790
With thanks to Jerry Casburn, Cherilyn Fleming, Dave Pearson.