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.

It all started in 2000 when I was contracted by Rotary International to work in South Africa on the Polio Eradication Private Sector Campaign. Later I was invited to join the Rotary Club of Johannesburg in 2002 as a volunteer and over the years worked on various campaigns.

During this time, I was introduced to Rotarians for Family Health & Aids Prevention (RFHA) based in Atlanta, Georgia. Their CEO Marion Bunch appeared as a guest speaker at the Rotary Africa Centennial celebrations conference. I was immediately struck by her total dedication to making a difference in this world in the name of her son Jerry. In 2012, on a visit to Johannesburg, Marion and I connected again and she told me about the Rotary Family Health Days program. She was looking for a program manager in South Africa and that was how it all began again for me!

As the program director for South Africa, now expanded to Africa, it has been my responsibility to coordinate, develop, activate, execute, and monitor all plans around communications, media, training, and the roll-out of the health days. I facilitate and coordinate all partners.

My days are filled with meetings, challenging decisions, and dogged determination to push the ball up the sometimes slippery slope! I have been known to get very little sleep particularly close to the campaign roll-out! After each event, I feel a great sense of achievement tinged with relief.

We have two Rotary Family Health Days under our belt, with the next one planned for October 2015. If you want to make a difference, consider joining us. Our ambition is to reach 75,000 people in South Africa in 2015 and  2 million people globally by 2020. So we need all the helping hands we can get!

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