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

Medical mission delivers hope to Nigerian polio victims


This gallery contains 8 photos.

A group of Rotarian physicians from India — most of them orthopedic surgeons — assisted by nonmedical volunteers, performed corrective surgeries on young polio patients ages 1 to 18 at two hospitals in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. The project was partly … Continue reading

Fighting AIDS through the power of Rotarians

Marion Bunch

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

World AIDS Day 1 December holds special meaning to me. I lost my second born child, Jerry, to AIDS early in the American epidemic (1994). At that time, the disease was so stigmatizing, I felt quite lonely not being able to discuss Jerry’s illness with anyone outside my family. I never thought I’d do anything about it until one day, three years after his death, I felt a tap on the shoulder and a voice in my ear said “mom, get up and get going, you haven’t done anything, and it’s been three years.” Continue reading

Packaged grant helps train nurses in Uganda

Dr. Francis Tusubira with children at a health camp in Namalemba.

By Dr. Francis “Tusu” Tusubira, Rotary Foundation Chair for District 9200 and a member of the Rotary Club of Kampala-North, Uganda

Rotary to me is about going into the trenches with communities and working with them. I like my feet and hands community muddy.

So I had serious reservations at first about packaged grants. It sounded like The Rotary Foundation would do all the work and it would be handed to Rotarians as a done deal. Then I received an email from the Foundation that Aga Khan University had been identified as a potential strategic partner to train nurses within their university system in Eastern Africa. They were asking if District 9200 would be interested. Continue reading

Health clinics reach thousands in Lagos, Nigeria

A child receives a checkup during one of the health camps. Photo courtesy Rotary Club of Lagos-Palm Grove Estate

By Suman Ramesh, president of the Rotary Club of Lagos-Palm Grove Estate, Lagos State, Nigeria

My club organizes six health camps a year. During these camps, patients line up beginning very early in the morning for free consultations. Young women bring their children, and receive iron supplements, vitamin tablets, anti-malaria medication, and sometimes de-worming medicines. We see them smiling as they return home after their health checks, carrying their supplements and medicines.

Quite a number of elderly patients also attend the camps, gaining access to blood pressure checks, random blood sugar checks, and general health advice they would not otherwise be able to afford. Continue reading

Helping save kids’ lives in northern Rwanda

Alexandra Vinograd treats a patient at the hill-top hospital in northern Rwanda. Photo courtesy of Alexandra Vinograd

By Dr. Alexandra Vinograd, a former Rotary Scholar and Youth Exchange Student

I just returned home from two years living and working as a physician in rural Rwanda.

Like the other times I have returned home from abroad, I welcome the familiarity of things. I love understanding the subtleties of language and knowing how to greet someone without seeming awkward. I like the hot showers and my spring mattress and the coffee shop on the corner.  Continue reading

Medical mission delivers care to Rwanda

Part of the surgical team operates during the medical mission to Rwanda. Photo courtesy of District 3080

By Shaju Peter, past governor of District 3080 (India)

In April, a team of 16 medical specialists and 11 Rotary volunteers from District 3080 left India on a medical mission to Rwanda.

During a 12-day period, our team performed 210 procedures on patients selected in advance by doctors at the hospital in Kigali, the nation’s capital. The team of surgeons removed a gallbladder tumor, performed hip replacements, worked to repair throat and nasal passages, treated gallstones, and even performed facial surgery on a survivor of the 1994 genocide who had been struck by a machete. Continue reading

Health camp reaches mothers and children on remote island in Sri Lanka

Maternal health camp on Delft Island

A volunteer talks with a mother and her child during the maternal health camp on Delft Island, Sri Lanka. Photo courtesy Gehan de Alwis

By Gehan de Alwis, a member of the Rotary Club of Colombo Regency, Western Province, Sri Lanka

I was lucky recently to be a part of a team that visited a remote island off the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka as part of a prenatal and postnatal health camp.

The camp was supported by a Rotary Foundation Matching Grant initiated by my club, together with the Rotary Club of Colombo Fort, and our international partner, the Rotary Club of Newtown, Pennsylvania, USA. My trip with three other Rotarians, a Rotaractor, and a prospective Rotarian for the “mother and child” health camp began at 4:45 a.m. in Colombo. Continue reading