Turning bicycle parts into wheelchairs for polio survivors

Ayuba Burki Gufwan, a polio survivor and member of Rotary, founded Beautiful Gate, an organization that makes wheelchairs for Nigerian polio survivors. Here Gufwan speaks about his mission and about advocating for polio immunization.

Read Gufwan’s blog post about Beautiful Gate.

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

How do you use your skills to benefit others?

Bisan Michael (right) during the ceremony in his honor.

Bisan Michael (right) during the ceremony in his honor.

By Edoja Sowho, Rotary Club of Effurun GRA, Delta State, Nigeria

The airport road junction in Effurun-Warri, Delta State, Nigeria, is a very busy and strategic location in the oil-rich city of Warri. The government of Delta State constructed a roundabout to ease traffic congestion, but it’s had little effect.

At the center of this hotspot, you’ll find Bisan Michael, a rather remarkable young man who volunteers his time and talent to keep traffic moving, rain or shine. He has been doing this work, with no reward for himself, for years. Continue reading

Traveling to Nigeria to fight polio

Ann Lee Hussey immunizing a child against polio in Chad.

Ann Lee Hussey immunizing a child against polio in Chad.

By Ann Lee Hussey, polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Portland Sunrise, Maine, USA.

As a 17-month-old toddler, I contracted polio. Burning up with fever, I was paralyzed from the waist down. It was July 1955, only three months after Jonas Salk’s vaccine was released to the public. I was lucky to regain the use of most but not all of my leg muscles. Today, after multiple surgeries, braces, and physical therapy, I am able to walk with limitations. Continue reading

Polio did not put a brake on my life

131017_gufwan2By Ayuba Burki Gufwan, a polio survivor and founder/director of Beautiful Gate Handicapped People Center in Plateau State, Nigeria. Launched in 1999, Beautiful Gate has built and distributed more than 6,000 tricycle-type wheelchairs to polio survivors in Nigeria and neighboring states.

I was born in a tiny village in Plateau State, Nigeria. My mother had lost two babies before I was born, so when I came along everyone was very excited. I still remember faintly playing around with other kids. At the age of five, I came down with polio.

Continue reading

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

Eyewitness to polio immunization days in Nigeria

Nigerian Rotaractor Obiya Williams (center) with other independent monitors during National Immunization Days. Photo courtesy of Obiya Williams

Nigerian Rotaractor Obiya Williams (center) with other independent monitors during National Immunization Days. Photo courtesy of Obiya Williams

By Obiya Williams, a member of the Rotaract Club of Abakaliki, Nigeria

During the second week of January, I was invited by a friend to a seminar in Abakaliki organized by the World Health Organization to train youth to assist in monitoring immunization efforts. At the end of the program, they conduct a test.

Luckily for me, I received a text several days later congratulating me for my test results and inviting me to serve as an independent monitor with a team taking part in National Immunization Days in February. After four days, I did not want it to end. 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

Eye camp gives the gift of sight

RI Director Gideon Peiper looks at a patient recovering from cataract surgery during an eye camp in Lagos, Nigeria, in October.

RI Director Gideon Peiper looks at a patient recovering from cataract surgery during an eye camp in Lagos, Nigeria, in October.

By Suman Ramesh, a member of the Rotary Club of Lago-Palm Grove Estate, Lagos, Nigeria

Seeing the joy on people’s faces when they receive their sight back is an unforgettable experience.

Every year, the Rotary Club of Lagos-Palm Grove Estate, Lagos, Nigeria, sponsors an eye camp with medical staff from the Eye Institute in Navsari, India, treating nearly a thousand patients in the Nigerian states of Lagos and Ogun spread over 10 days. Continue reading

Reflections from a polio immunization team to Nigeria

Members of the National Immunization Days team to Nigeria. Photo courtesy of Richard Rivkin

Members of the National Immunization Days team to Nigeria and their hosts. Photo courtesy of Richard Rivkin

By Richard Rivkin, assistant governor of District 6440 (Illinois, USA)

I have been home for several days now, decompressing and reflecting on what we have accomplished during our polio immunization team’s trip to Nigeria. It seems like so long ago that the idea of organizing a trip to Nigeria was first conceived.  Continue reading