The power of Rotary on display in Africa

By Marion Bunch, Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (formerly RFFA)

For three days in May, Rotarians from 365 clubs fanned out across Uganda, Nigeria, and South Africa to help medical professionals and government workers provide free health services to 250,000 disadvantaged people.

Rotary Family Health Days, the third event organized by Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (RFHA), was an incredible success! The program, initially developed to address the critical issue of HIV/AIDS in Africa, has always included other health care services. This year, we conducted polio and measles immunizations, dental and eye clinics, family counseling and screening for HIV, diabetes and hypertension, breast cancer, and cervical cancer. Continue reading

Surplus equipment saves lives

Rotarians in British Colombia, Canada, load medical and dental supplies to be shipped to Chile. Photo courtesy Chris Offer

Rotarians in British Columbia, Canada, load medical and dental supplies to be shipped to Chile. Photo courtesy Chris Offer

By Chris Offer, past governor of District 5040 (British Columbia, Canada)

There is something almost magical about loading an infant incubator, which has kept hundreds of newborn babies alive in Canada, on board a ship and knowing it will continue to help children in Chile.

I recently had the opportunity to load a 40-foot sea container with medical and dental supplies to be shipped to Iquique, Chile. Continue reading

Health days event invests in the future of children

Stéphanie Tobler Mucznik and the film crew in South Africa.

Stéphanie Tobler Mucznik and the film crew in South Africa.

Stéphanie Tobler Mucznik, senior media relations specialist for Europe and Africa in RI’s Zurich office, spent a week with a film crew in Johannesburg, South Africa, documenting the three-day family health day event organized by Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention.

“I believe God sent us the Rotarians”, says single mother Innocentia.

We are chatting in her family’s backyard, Innocentia is sitting on a wooden stool, and her baby is sleeping on her back, wrapped in a towel, while Grandmother Gloria is doing the laundry in a metal bucket. Continue reading

Providing free health care to thousands in Africa

Marion Bunch

By Marion Bunch, Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (formerly RFFA)

For three days this month, 9-11 May, Rotarians from 225 clubs in Uganda, Nigeria, and South Africa will be helping provide free health care service to thousands of families. I am excited about the campaign, which will be the third annual event organized by Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (RFHA), Rotary’s mobilizing and implementing partner in disease prevention.

The program was initially developed to address the critical issue of HIV/AIDS in Africa, but has always included other health care services. Continue reading

Rotary clubs target dengue fever

Rotarians inspect tub sites with the mayor of Surakarta. Rotarians shared details of the project with the mayor to use in other parts of the city.

Rotarians inspect tub sites with the mayor of Surakarta. Rotarians shared details of the project with the mayor to use in other parts of the city.

By Paul Spiekermann, M.D., a member of the Rotary Club of Westport, Connecticut, USA

Rotary, with its army of volunteers, is uniquely suited to help prevent the spread of dengue fever, a painful and debilitating disease that infects 50-100 million people a year, mostly in tropical and subtropical regions.

The dengue virus is transmitted from person to person by mosquitoes. While 80 percent of Continue reading

Stories of sustainability from Mt. Kilimanjaro

Children wash their hands from a spigot in Mwika, Tanzania. Photo courtesy of Walt Schafer

Children wash their hands from a spigot in Mwika, Tanzania. Photo courtesy of Walt Schafer

By Walt Schafer, a member of the Rotary Club of Chico, California, USA

After a 45 minute drive up a winding dirt road on the shoulder of Mt. Kilimanjaro, we arrived at a new waste-high trench and could smell the soil of the fresh dig.

About 75 young farmers had made remarkable progress digging the trench for a new four-inch water pipe in just two hours. The water pipe will transport clean water trickling down from a tiny stream higher up the slope to Mwika, Tanzania. Continue reading

Preparing for the future

Incoming Rotary leaders receive training in the new grant model in January.

Incoming Rotary leaders receive training in the new grant model in January.

By Rotary Foundation Trustee Ashok M. Mahajan

Buddha said “do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” This, in my opinion, is a call for service.

But for Rotarians to undertake projects that change lives, seeing the future is important. We work for a future where people everywhere can live in peace and harmony, enjoy a decent standard of living, and know that their children are safe and have a bright future. Continue reading

Saving Little Hearts

RI Director Shekhar Mehta shares his Rotary moment during the International Assembly. Rotary International/Monika Lozinska

RI Director Shekhar Mehta shares his Rotary moment during the International Assembly. Rotary International/Monika Lozinska

By RI Director Shekhar Mehta

More often than not, each of my days starts with meeting one or more children who need to get heart surgeries done.

Their mothers and fathers wait for nine months for their bundle of joy to arrive but soon after the child is born they realize that the child has got a hole in the heart. And this creates holes in their hearts and their pockets. Their yearly income is not more than US$600 and the expense for a heart surgery is $3,000. It would take them five years to spend all that they earned to try and save the child, but who knows if the child will survive or not. Continue reading

Polio surgery project extends service beyond borders

Nigerian Health Minister C.O. Onyebuchi Chukwu takes part in a polio-corrective surgery during the medical mission.

Nigerian Health Minister C.O. Onyebuchi Chukwu takes part in a polio-corrective surgery during the medical mission.

By Rajiv Pradhan, past governor of District 3132 and primary project contact for the medical mission to Nigeria

The medical mission to Nigeria was a life-changing experience for the Indian doctors who took part and for the children who underwent polio-corrective surgeries.

The orthopedic surgeons, all with experience in these types of surgeries, came from all corners of India. Many more surgeons and anesthesiologists wanted to join than we had room for on the team. Continue reading

My new life fighting malaria

A happy recipient of one of the specially designed mosquito nets.

A happy recipient of one of the specially designed bed nets.

By Steve Baker, a member of the Rotary Club of Key Biscayne, Florida, USA.

When my wife and I lived in Caracas, Venezuela, from 2001 to 2006, I spent many months traveling on the Rio Alto Ventuari in Amazonas State, staying in indigenous villages. The Ye’kuana people I met still lived traditional lives, the women tending their small slash and burn gardens, the men hunting and fishing. I saw firsthand how they were affected by western- introduced diseases their shamans could not deal with. In particular, malaria sickened and sometimes killed them. Continue reading