A milestone for polio eradication

150724_mcgovernEditor’s Note: This post, first published in July, has been revised to reflect the new milestone reached in our fight to eradicate polio, and to celebrate Membership and New Club Development Month. Rotary members have many opportunities to make a difference, including being part of history as we seek a polio-free world. Rotary members have led the way in fundraising, advocacy, and lining up volunteer support for polio eradication.

By Michael McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee

Africa has now marked a full year with no new cases of polio caused by the wild poliovirus anywhere on the continent.

This is the longest the continent has ever gone without a case of polio and a critical step on the path toward a polio-free Africa. We’ve come a long way; it was only a decade ago that polio struck 12,631 people in Africa – three-quarters of all cases in the world. Continue reading

Fighting malnutrition with special peanut butter formula

A child in Sierra Leone eats some of the specially developed peanut butter formula.

A child in Sierra Leone eats some of the specially formulated peanut butter.

By Rotary Voices staff

Severe acute malnutrition kills millions of children around the world every year. Those who don’t die often suffer from stunted growth and other health problems. More children between the ages of one and three die of inadequate food intake every year than from HIV/AIDS.

In Sierra Leone, Rotary members are partnering with more than 20 clubs in the United States and Canada to prevent some of these deaths by supplying jars of specially developed peanut butter, known as “Ready to Use Therapeutic Food,” to treat children suffering from malnutrition. The project, funded by a global grant from the Rotary Foundation, began in January of 2013 and is continuing through September. Continue reading

Four countries meet to tackle malaria

Members of Rotaract clear blocked ditches and conduct other improvements in the Nyalenda settlement of Kenya.

Members of Rotaract clear blocked ditches and conduct other improvements in the Nyalenda settlement of Kenya.

By Kenneth Masamaro, Rotaract Club of Kisumu, Kenya

On 3 April, we hosted a malaria prevention program in Kisumu, Kenya, as part of the third year of Rotaract East Africa Impact (REACT). The project is a multi-district initiative that brings together Rotaract clubs from throughout Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.

More than 100 members from 19 different Rotaract clubs across these countries travelled to the lakeside city to make a difference in the informal settlement of Nyalenda. A story is told of a young boy who was four years old and had many dreams ahead of him. One evening, the boy developed fevers and refused to eat. Though his mother had a premonition about it, she decided to brush it aside. The preceding week, her other two children, a boy and girl, developed fevers and had reduced appetites but their symptoms had resolved on their own. Continue reading

Providing access to healthcare in Africa

Sue Paget on the go for Rotary Family Health Days.

Sue Paget on the go for Rotary Family Health Days.

Based in Johannesburg, Sue Paget is one of the driving forces behind the Rotary Family Health Days in South Africa. She has been married to Trevor for 34 years and has three children. This is the last in a series of blog posts leading up to International Women’s Day 8 March.

“Africa is a harsh reality – we see, hear, and live with suffering on a daily basis, most especially in our disadvantaged communities. And yet the people still shine through.

This is why being involved with Rotary Family Health Days has been so rewarding. It has been incredibly gratifying to know that collectively we have been able to help over 120,000 people in two years access free health services and screenings. Continue reading

Operation Life Jacket saves lives

Donated life jackets in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.

Donated life jackets in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

By Sergio Santi, International Commodore of the Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians

In September of 2012, we heard from Bill Kosar, a new member of the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians from Kenya, that fishermen or ferry passengers were drowning in local waters every week because of a lack of life jackets. We knew we had to do something to help. Continue reading

Rotaract members in East Africa unite in service

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By Sarah Maingi, Rotaract representative from Kenya

On a warm Saturday morning in April, about 100 Rotaractors from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi gathered at a community in Buterere in Bujumbura, Burundi, to provide households with clean drinking water.

Some of the Rotaractors, myself included, had traveled over 1,000 kilometers by road, and all sacrificed their Easter holidays to serve. Continue reading

Rotaractors deliver free health care in Uganda

A member of Rotaract weighs a baby before vaccinating the child against polio.

A member of Rotaract weighs a baby before vaccinating the child against polio.

By Chelsea Ducharme, Rotaract Club of Kasese, Uganda

On 22 February, we packed up our trucks with supplies and traveled 45 minutes to Kyempara, a parish in Kasese District, southwestern Uganda, near the Congolese border.

Kyempara has only one government health center, with one head nurse serving a population of more than 6,000 people. With limited resources, the center is unable to keep up with all the community’s health needs. Our small but mighty Rotaract Club heard their call for help and took action to support our neighbors. Continue reading

Rotary heroes in Nelson Mandela Bay

Samuel is able to hold a coffee mug thanks to a prosthetic hand he received from Rotary members. Photo by Tamika Doubell

Samuel shows off the prosthetic hand he received from Rotary members. Photo by Tamika Doubell

By Tamika Doubell, model, actress, and an ambassador for Brooklyn Fashion Week

Thanks to my family’s involvement with Rotary, I’m never short of a community project to get involved with. My mother is the assistant governor for District 9370 (South Africa) and I’m proud to be associated with Rotary through projects of the Rotary Club of Algoa Bay in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Recently Rotary initiated three days of free healthcare to communities across South Africa through the Rotary Family Health Days, sponsored by Rotarians For Family Health and Aids Prevention. I covered social media, public relations, and marketing for the event in the Eastern Province. I shot several photos that I submitted to Rotary’s photo contest on Instagram. One in particular spoke to my heart — a photo of a man named Samuel from New Brighton township here in Nelson Mandela Bay. Continue reading

One moment, two drops of vaccine, change a life

Ken Hughes, a member of the Rotary Club of Burlington, Kansas, USA, during the immunization trip. Photo courtesy 2012 NID Team

Ken Hughes, a member of the Rotary Club of Burlington, Kansas, USA, during the immunization trip. Photo courtesy 2012 NID Team

By Al Bonney, 2014-15 Governor of District 6290 (part of Ontario, Canada; part of Michigan, USA), and a member of the Rotary Club of Traverse City, Michigan

The sun was just peaking pink and yellow over the roof tops of the soon-to-be-busy street when our team of 15 Rotary members sleepily descended from the bus on the first day of the three-day National Immunization Day trip. Continue reading

Training doctors in the Congo

Observation rou8nds at the Adolf Sice Hospital in The Congo.

Observation rounds at the Adolf Sice Hospital, Pointe Noire, Congo.

By Dr. Swati Gadgil, Rotary Club of Dombivli East, Maharashtra, India

In December, I was asked by Rotary and Mercy Ships to lead a team of four doctors to the Republic of Congo to train doctors and staff on disease prevention methods at The Adolf Sice and Tie Tie Base hospitals.

Just a few days before the trip, two doctors on our team had to drop out for personal and unavoidable circumstances. I called my friend  Sanghamitra,  who is based in Albany, New York, and to my surprise and relief, found her as eager as I to pursue this mission. Thanks are due to our assistant governor, Girish Mittal, for his support in making this last minute switch possible. Continue reading