In early July, Ghana was blessed with our second visit by an RI president in a year, as President Sakuji Tanaka took part in breaking ground on a vaccine cold room in Accra.
This was quite an unprecedented event, coming so soon after past RI President Kalyan Banerjee’s visit in November. I guess Ghana is now a hotbed of Rotary action, and everyone wants to come and see for themselves!
The Greater Accra region is the only one of ten in Ghana to lack a cold storage facility. Transporting vaccines to remote areas is no easy task. From the time they leave the manufacturer until they reach recipients, vaccines must be kept between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius. Variances of even a few degrees could spoil an entire shipment, leaving children without the protection they need.
On 16 July, President Tanaka and Sam Okudzeto, past RI director and member of the Rotary Club of Accra, joined officials in launching the US$140,000 project to build a new cold room, an initiative of the Ghana National Polio-Plus Committee. President Tanaka noted how important vaccines are in the treatment of childhood diseases, and how crucial it is to keep Ghana polio-free. Ghana hasn’t reported a case of polio since November 2008.
The next morning, President Tanaka visited an early learning center at La Wireless School in Accra, a project of the Rotary Club of Accra North, donating books and learning materials. We watched with smiles as he joined school children in a dance, accompanied by drumming, to commemorate the occasion.
Later that day, the president had the pleasure of presenting a charter to the 24th and newest club in Ghana, the Rotary Club of Spintex, and welcome the first female charter club president in Ghana history. Several donors to The Rotary Foundation received their recognition pins from the president during a joyous and memorable ceremony.
We were happy to be able to show the president, before he departed for a zone institute in Zambia, that Rotary is alive and well in Ghana, and that Ghanian Rotarians are fostering Peace Through Service.