India eye surgeons share skills with peers in Ethiopia

Members of the vocational training team of eye specialists from India perform an eye surgery in Ethiopia. Photo courtesy Rotary District 3140

Members of the vocational training team of eye specialists from India perform an eye surgery in Ethiopia. Photo courtesy Rotary District 3140

By Suhas B. Naik-Satam, past president of the Rotary Club of Bombay Chembur West, Maharashtra, India

In March, during our silver jubilee year, my Rotary club sponsored a vocational training team of ophthalmologists to Ethiopia to improve the abilities and skills of eye surgeons at various medical centers there.

Under the direction of club president S.R. Balasubramanian and led by Dr. Haresh Asnani, a past president of our club, the team of three super specialists included a vitreoretinal surgeon, a pediatric ophthalmologist/squint specialist, and an oculoplastic surgeon/ocular oncologist. Our club partnered with Beyond Eye Care, an organization that manages the India Eye Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. Continue reading

Making a difference in Uganda

Members of the vocational training team in Uganda.

Members of the vocational training team in Uganda.

By Lisa Miller, a member of the Rotary Club of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, USA

Sixteen mothers die in childbirth in Uganda every day. How can we make a difference?

Ryan Smith, then a medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine, posed that question to his father several years ago. The question, and his father’s membership in Rotary, combined to bring together staff from two medical schools — Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, USA, and Makerere University School of Health Sciences in Kampala, Uganda, to exchange ideas, share technology, and discuss ways to reduce mortality and morbidity during and after childbirth and improve access to essential medical services.

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Why you should consider being part of a vocational training team

150429_gopinathan_mugBy Indumati Gopinathan, Rotary Club of Bombay Chembur West

The vocational training team is one of the most meaningful programs that has emerged from the Foundation’s grant model. Having had opportunities to lead a Group Study Exchange and a vocational training team (VTT), I have witnessed the metamorphosis of this idea and can attest to the great value the latter provides.

My participation in two consecutive medical vocational training teams to Uganda in 2013 and 2014 showed me how purpose driven these teams are, what a crisp program they follow, and how they build capacity in one of our six areas of focus. Stringent monitoring and evaluation tools gauge efficiency and assure sustainability. Continue reading

Vanakkam from southern India

Thomas Smith in the Bay of Bengal with Pondicherry, India, in the background.

Thomas Smith in the Bay of Bengal with Pondicherry, India, in the background.

By Thomas Smith, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Palm Springs, California

People everywhere. Horns blowing. Never-ending rushhour. Color. Activity. Passion. These were a few of my first impressions of India.

I feel very fortunate to have been selected recently to take part in a vocational training team from California, USA, to southern India, supporting education and literacy initiatives. Our district is committed to helping India achieve its goal of becoming 100 percent literate by 2018. Continue reading