Reconnect Week is an opportunity for you to invite Rotary alumni in your community to join you in a celebration or special event that will help strengthen their bond with Rotary. - RI President John Germ in Facebook
Whenever John Germ saw a need in his hometown, he engineered a solution. He'll bring the same can-do attitude to the office of RI president.
RI Board of Directors
Nigeria reported three cases of wild poliovirus in the northeastern state of Borno in August of this year. Following the World Health Organization's confirmation of these cases, the country returned to the list of polio-endemic countries. The other polio-endemic countries are Afghanistan and Pakistan.
These are the first cases detected in the country since July 2014, and while this news is disappointing for all Rotary members, we are confident that Nigeria can defeat polio. Rotary provided $500,000 to assist immediately with the outbreak response, and an emergency response plan has been put into action in coordination with our partners. Large-scale vaccination campaigns are ongoing across five countries in the Lake Chad basin to counter the outbreak.
Despite these new cases, there has been significant progress toward ending polio in Nigeria, the rest of the African continent, and globally.
As recently as 2012, Nigeria accounted for more than half of all polio cases in the world; however, thanks to quality vaccination campaigns and surveillance, as well as political commitment, the country has made significant progress. Furthermore, the new cases were detected due to ongoing efforts to strengthen surveillance, especially in insecure areas.
We have proven strategies to stop new outbreaks quickly, even in insecure regions or areas made vulnerable by conflict, such as South Sudan and Syria. These strategies will also overcome the outbreak in Nigeria.
Rotary is committed to the eradication of polio, and we will continue to support our members, particularly those in Nigeria who have worked so hard to help the country end polio. With your help, we can ensure that there is no remaining home for the virus.
Michael K. McGovern, International PolioPlus Chair
Each and every day, I am amazed at the work Rotary clubs and districts do in education. From simple book drives to complex reading assessments in classrooms, hundreds—possibly thousands—of Rotary projects are being done each year to help better education for children and adults throughout the world.
As 1.2 million Rotarians, we know we have the ability to significantly impact the lives of children and adults by bringing opportunities to access education. But this alone may not be enough. The education learners receive must also be of high quality. This is done by ensuring teachers are properly trained and have access to additional training opportunities. It is accomplished through working with school directors, teachers, students and parents to understand the challenges their schools face and how we can help them achieve their goals beyond providing equipment. And finally, when possible, it is achieved through working with local government officials to garner their support for our projects and receive their commitment to continuing to work with schools once our projects are completed.
We are proud of the work that Rotarians do and it is my goal, as the Basic Education and Literacy Manager, to assist in project development and implementation. We are continually trying to produce opportunities to help Rotarians start a new project or to scale up existing ones. We have created the Basic Education & Literacy Project Strategies Guide, a document filled with education statistics, considerations before planning a project, project strategies, and tips to ensure extra sustainability. It also includes information about Rotarian-led projects from around the world- great examples to help get creative juices flowing!
We hope you find this guide helpful and we are always excited to hear about your projects. Highlight your projects on Rotary Showcase. Any Rotarian and Rotaractor can upload their project to Showcase to inspire other clubs and districts and to connect with fellow Rotarians and Rotaractors undertaking similar work.
As we wrap up Basic Education & Literacy month, I would like to extend a big thank you for your tireless work to bring higher quality education and education opportunities to those who otherwise may not have them. I look forward to learning about your impact over the coming year!
-Mary Jo Jean-Francois, Area of Focus Manager for Basic Education and Literacy in Rotary Service Connections
EVANSTON, Illinois (20 September 2016) — Rotary today committed an additional $35 million in grants to support the global effort to end polio, bringing the humanitarian service organization's contribution to $105 million in 2016.
The announcement follows recent reports of three new cases of wild poliovirus in Nigeria: two cases in July, and one in August. The three cases are the first to be detected in Nigeria since July 2014. With these cases, funding for polio eradication is particularly vital as rapid response plans are now in action in Nigeria and surrounding countries to stop the outbreak quickly and prevent its spread. Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) are acting to immunize children in Nigeria and countries in the Lake Chad Basin (Chad, northern Cameroon, southern Niger and the Central African Republic). Nearly one-fourth of the funds Rotary announced today ($8.15 million) will support the emergency response campaigns in this at-risk region, and last month Rotary provided $500,000 to immediately assist with the outbreak response.
While significant strides have been made against the paralyzing disease, with just 26 cases reported in 2016, polio remains a threat in hard-to-reach and underserved areas and conflict zones.
"While we are disappointed with the recent news coming out of Nigeria, this situation underscores the extreme importance of widespread immunization campaigns and strong disease surveillance in all countries of the world until polio is fully eradicated," said Michael K. McGovern, chair of Rotary's International PolioPlus Committee. "This funding will help ensure that Rotary and our GPEI partners are doing all that we can to redouble our efforts and protect the progress in polio-free parts of the world, as well as stop transmission in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and now Nigeria."
To sustain this progress, and protect all children from polio, experts say $1.5 billion is urgently needed. Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to previously polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk. Rotary has contributed more than $1.6 billion and countless volunteer hours to fight polio. Through 2018, every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication will be matched two-to-one by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation up to $35 million a year.
Rotary launched its polio immunization program PolioPlus in 1985, and in 1988 became a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and was later joined by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since the initiative launched, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to 26 confirmed to date in 2016.
In addition to supporting the response in the Lake Chad Basin region, funding has been allocated to support polio eradication efforts in Afghanistan ($5.55 million), Pakistan ($12.36 million), India ($875,000), Somalia ($1.77 million), South Sudan ($2.04 million), and the Democratic Republic of the Congo ($2 million). A final grant in the amount of $2.25 million will support key WHO staff.
- RI Press release
SCARBOROUGH, ON--(Marketwired - September 26, 2016) - The Canadian Centre for Refugee and Immigrant Health Care (CCRIHC) volunteer medical team has operated free medical clinics for refugees, migrants and others new to Canada for 17 years. Most are yet without access to Canadian health care.
Trying to re-build lives broken by war, patients and their families sit side by side in our Centre's waiting area. While waiting for care, they care for each other. New to Canada, they are all in the same boat. They need medical help. They talk with each other. They look after each other's children while parents receive care. Their children play together in the playroom. New friendships begin. Hope starts again. Some patients return to our Centre's clinics to help out. They bring food. They drive others to appointments. They translate. They donate when they can.
There are no boundaries or barriers to those we provide with medical care. We respect and treat all world citizens who arrive at the clinic's doors. In Canada our clinics have welcomed and treated waves of refugees, immigrants and the world's forced migrants. To date patients from 122 countries of origin have received care. We are inclusive of all cultures and faiths from around the world. Care is provided unstintingly and without judgment of circumstances.
The numbers seeking our care continues to increase. Thousands have been treated; 40,000 patient visits have been recorded. Half of our patients are children and youth new to Canada and pregnant women without access to care. Our Pediatric Outreach Program clinic, staffed by volunteer residents in pediatrics at The University of Toronto and The Hospital for Sick Children and their supervising pediatricians has treated hundreds of these children.
Since 2005 our volunteer dental partners have operated the Urban Dental Clinic with CCRIHC, providing free urgent oral healthcare for working poor Canadians and those new to Canada unable to afford care.
We exist to ensure health care equity by providing access to medical and dental care for refugees and migrants who have neither. We strive to build bridges from where they came, to Canada. Each refugee and new Canadian deserves a healthy start and a fighting chance to succeed and re- build lives. The immigrant experience is part of each Canadian family. It is our strength and heritage. We are all from different places. It is what defines us, what makes us Canadian.
We are deeply humbled and honoured to receive the 2016 Rotary District 7070 Wilf Wilkinson Peace Award. We gratefully acknowledge our donors and supporters. Without their gifts and generosity our work would not be possible.
On 19 November, a team of Rotary staff and I will join Rotary members from Arizona (District 5500) and around the world to cycle up to 104 miles in El Tour de Tucson to raise funds for polio eradication. - John Hewko
Meet the 2016 Miles to End Polio team
On 19 November, a team of Rotary staff and I will join Rotary members from Arizona (District 5500) and around the world to cycle up to 104 miles in El Tour de Tucson to raise funds for polio eradication.
The event is one of the top cycling events in the U.S., attracting more than 9,000 cyclists each year. We are aiming to raise $3.4 million, which will be tripled by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a total of more than $10 million for the fight to end polio.
In August, the World Health Organization confirmed two cases of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) in Nigeria, the first cases in the country since July 2014. While this news is disappointing for all of us, we must remain steadfast and fully committed to fighting polio anywhere children remain at risk, including Nigeria and Africa. Now, more than ever, we need to redouble our efforts to help Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria to retain strong immunization coverage globally. Supporting the Miles To End Polio ride is one way to show these countries that Rotary’s commitment to polio eradication is unwavering, whatever obstacles we face.
Learn more about each team member, follow them as they train, and add your support bydonating to their ride. Team members will be sharing their training experiences here on our blog as the event draws near.
Would you like to join the team? Take part in the Indoor Ride to End Polio! Ride a stationary bike at your local gym or at home any time from 12-19 November. Register today or make a contribution to help Rotary create a polio-free world.
Courtney Drew is an analysis and pre-conventions specialist, focusing on Rotary’s Youth Exchange program. She joined Rotary in 2014 and has worked on two international conventions. Because of her role, she has met hundreds of Rotary and Rotaract members and is impressed by their commitment to Doing Good in the World. As a longtime athlete, she’s no stranger to training programs and is ready for the opportunity to make a direct impact.
Robson Duarte works at Rotary’s Brazil office in Sao Pãulo. Robson says Rotary’s work in local and international communities makes him feel proud to be part of the staff. He can be found cycling on the streets of Sao Pãulo during his daily commute to work or on his way to volunteer at orphanages. Besides cycling, Robson also enjoys hiking and other outdoor sports during his free time. He is eager to ride with the Miles to End Polio team.
Christian Pepera manages The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers, a group of volunteer Rotarians who monitor and evaluate Rotary’s grant projects. He has worked at Rotary for nearly a decade and has had the opportunity to visit Rotary-funded projects to see firsthand the incredible results that members have achieved. Christian sees participating in Miles to End Polio as a chance for him to get out of his cubicle and join colleagues and Rotary members who are directly contributing to the eradication of a devastating disease.
Dave Stumpf is director of auditing services at Rotary International and president of the Rotary Club of Evanston, Illinois, USA. He has participated in several triathlons and has finished two 140.6-mile Ironman competitions, as well as many other running and cycling events over the years. Dave is looking forward to crossing the finish line at El Tour de Tucson and helping Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio.
Jose Zambrano is a contribution processor for The Rotary Foundation. For as long as he can remember, he has been passionate about outdoor activities and sports. Jose believes that team activities make you push yourself the extra mile, just as he sees Rotary members push themselves to make their communities better. He is excited to improve his abilities, raise funds for polio eradication, and have plenty of fun along the way.
Nora Zei has worked at Rotary for nearly 14 years, currently as senior director of programs and member services. She is proud of how far Rotary has come in its efforts toward a polio-free world. Nora has spent hours contributing to polio-eradication fundraising efforts in her various Rotary roles, and she is eager for the chance to participate in a much more personal way — through cycling, her favorite hobby. Nora is excited to challenge herself to complete her first 100-mile ride.
Let’s End Polio Now!
- General Secretary John Hewko in Rotary Voices
Many of the children were barefoot and dressed in what they could assemble of the school uniform. The school is basic: a concrete floor, block walls and a tin roof- but clean and neat, with all the children wearing broad smiles and clearly happy to be in school with caring and supportive teachers. The first time I visited this school, it was a very different sight.
Just three years ago, the school was a tiny building of three cramped classrooms – no doors and no windows. Each teacher taught two grades without books and education materials. That day, children weren’t attending classes, but a cow had made itself at home in the school: tipping over benches, knocking down the old blackboard with its horns, and doing what cows do. It was not surprising that parents didn’t enroll their children in school. It just didn’t seem worthwhile.
Serving as role models
Enter the Kajjansi Rotary Club – Rotarians living or working nearby who clearly saw an opportunity. After talking with the teachers and education officials in the area, they made plans to build three new classrooms – basic rooms to provide a classroom for each grade level.
The Rotary members also understood that these children would benefit from role models to encourage regular attendance and commitment to studying. Each Rotarian mentors a student, as do local members of Rotaract. The club gave each child a backpack and some basic school supplies to help them with their studies. It wasn’t a huge monetary investment and all funds were raised locally. But this investment is clearly yielding great dividends.
In return for the Rotarians’ investment, the ministry fulfilled its commitment to provide a teacher for each grade level. The school now has some text books and a few teaching supplies.
And the results? Enrollment increased from 16 children three years ago to 96 children attending classes today!
My Rotarian colleagues recently took me to visit the school, see the progress, and meet the students.All successful business people dressed in business attire, they commented that this school reminded them of their own childhood: barefoot, walking to school, few resources, but committed teachers. One by one, and totally unplanned, each Rotarian shared their own story with the children. Their message: despite humble beginnings, the opportunity to attend school and receive an education was the key to their success.
- Carolyn Johnson, Vice-Chair of the Literacy Rotarian Action Group and member of the Rotary Club of Yarmouth, Maine, USA in Rotary Voices
Hundreds of people gather in an open-air courtyard at University Central Hospital in Kigali, Rwanda. Men in suits, women in flowered dresses, even prisoners in pink and orange gowns are waiting to find out if they will receive medical care. Some have no visible signs of injury. Others arrived on crutches, with arms in slings, or with catheters protruding from their clothing. Several have swollen, broken limbs: injuries that should have been mended long ago but were neglected because of the country’s long surgical-ward backlog, or simply poverty.
Emmanuel Mugatyawe, 36, sits on the ground as a friend fills out his yellow admissions form. He has been waiting two months for an operation to repair a broken leg – now infected – that he sustained when a car plowed into his motorbike.
“These are not routine cases; there are very few fresh injuries,” says Shashank Karvekar, an orthopedic surgeon and member of the Rotary Club of Solapur, India, after he and his Rwandan colleague Joel Bikoroti examine several dozen patients, scheduling many for surgery. Over the next eight days, a team of 18 specialized doctors (12 of whom are Rotarians) will perform surgeries on 268 Rwandan patients, including procedures in orthopedics and urology. The trip, initiated by District 3080 (India) and hosted by District 9150 (Central Africa), is funded by The Rotary Foundation with support from the Rwandan government. It’s the fourth medical mission to Rwanda that the two districts have organized since 2012. This time, among the volunteers is K.R. Ravindran, the first sitting RI president to take part in the mission.
A few buildings down on the University Central Hospital’s campus (referred to as CHUK), Rajendra Saboo, 1991-92 Rotary International president, is busy coordinating the last-minute logistics of the mission. The 82-year-old from Chandigarh, India, has done this many times. After finishing a post-presidential term on the Board of Trustees, Saboo and his wife, Usha, began to look for ways to participate in the type of hands-on service they had long encouraged of their fellow Rotarians.
They wanted to help India, a country that often receives outside assistance, make a stronger global contribution. It didn’t take long for Saboo to focus on medicine. He found that many local doctors had trained or worked in limited-resource settings similar to what they would find in Africa. “Our doctors are medically very strong,” Saboo explains. “And because India also does not have infrastructure of the highest level, they’ve learned how to innovate.”
Saboo’s first mission, to Uganda, took place in 1998 and focused on cataract surgeries and corrective operations to help disabled polio survivors. Organized with Rajiv Pradhan, a pathologist and past governor of District 3130, it consisted of doctors from Saboo’s district (3080) and Pradhan’s.
Today, Saboo recalls the mission as a life-altering experience – one so successful that the two soon arranged a trip to Ethiopia. That visit marked the start of an 18-year partnership that has brought more than three dozen surgical missions to 12 African countries, as well as Cambodia and six of India’s least developed states. Over time, the missions have increased in frequency to four per year, while adding specialties such as plastic surgery, urology, and gynecology. Saboo has been on almost every trip. “Raja Saboo is absolutely full of energy,” says Pradhan. “He’s constantly thinking of new ways to support medical missions. Even at this age, he’s working 12 hours a day.”
Rwanda, a compact central African country with mountainous topography that often draws comparisons to Switzerland, is perhaps best-known for its darkest moment: the slaughter of up to a million citizens, mostly members of the Tutsi minority, in the 1994 genocide. Twenty-two years later, it’s one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa. Kigali, its capital, is among the tidiest cities on the continent. Since 1994, life expectancy has more than doubled in Rwanda while maternal and child mortality rates have fallen.
Rwanda still faces public health challenges, however. Access to surgery is among them. According to The Lancet, an estimated 5 billion people, including nine out of 10 residents of lower- and middle-income countries, do not have access to “safe, affordable surgical and anesthesia care when needed.” In these countries, the British medical journal notes, 143 million additional surgical procedures are needed every year. Although most Rwandans are covered by national health insurance, which gives them access to low-cost care, many people living in rural areas cannot afford to get to a public health facility. Moreover, surgery is only available in five of the country’s public hospitals, and many patients must wait to be referred from local health centers or district-level facilities.
Aside from a minority of patients who can afford private care, complex cases wind up at one of two public hospitals in Kigali: CHUK and Rwanda Military Hospital, which also hosted doctors from the mission. A persistent shortage of surgeons means there’s typically a long waiting list. According to Faustin Ntirenganya, who heads the department of surgery at CHUK, the hospital employs just 10 surgeons and three anesthesiologists – a staffing shortage that, at times, means a backlog of up to 1,000 cases. Despite a growing number of surgical residents at Rwanda’s national university, the lure of better-paying jobs abroad makes holding on to specialists difficult, Ntirenganya says. “Our biggest challenge is numbers,” he says. “Our limited team cannot handle the needs of the whole population.”
The Rotary mission helps meet the high demand. In four trips to Rwanda, Saboo’s teams have conducted nearly 900 surgeries. For some patients, the mission represents a final chance. Michel Bizimungu, who had been out of work since rupturing a patellar tendon playing soccer last October, was told his case could be handled only at Rwanda’s top private hospital, at a price far beyond his means as a cleaner. Then his case was referred to Asit Chidgupkar, an orthopedic surgeon and member of the Rotary Club of Solapur. Although Chidgupkar had never encountered this specific injury, and CHUK lacked some needed equipment, including biodegradable screws and suture anchors, Chidgupkar devised a plan. The next day, in a four-hour procedure involving three separate incisions, he repaired Bizimungu’s knee. Chidgupkar called the procedure an “absolute improvisation.” (He later presented the case at an orthopedic conference in India, and he keeps in touch with Bizimungu, who updates him periodically on his recovery.) “It’s one of my most memorable cases,” he says.
The mission also provides training. Mission doctors teach cutting-edge surgical techniques to local physicians, medical students, and residents. During surgery, the visiting doctors demonstrate techniques and learn from host country doctors. Bosco Mugabo, a fourth-year resident in surgery at the University of Rwanda who assisted Chidgupkar with Bizimungu’s operation, says the opportunity was invaluable. “There are some tricks and hints that you don’t learn from school,” he says. “You learn them from a specific surgeon.”
With this in mind, Saboo worked with local health authorities to slightly modify the Rwanda mission. At a dinner in Kigali, he announced plans to invite 10 Rwandan doctors to India for three-month stints of training there – part of an effort to boost local capacity in a more sustainable manner. The next mission to Rwanda will also be smaller and focus more on teaching two in-demand specialties: reconstructive urology and anesthesiology. In addition, 20 Rwandan children will undergo open-heart surgery in Saboo’s home city of Chandigarh. With travel funds from the Rwandan Ministry of Health, 30 Rwandan children have already received such operations there. According to Emmanuel Rusingiza, one of only two pediatric cardiologists in Rwanda, the country’s high rate of rheumatic heart disease, which generally results from untreated cases of strep throat, means the country has a waiting list of more than 150 children. “A big number of them are passing away,” he says. “It’s a very hard situation.”
As the mission in Kigali winds down, Saboo is already looking forward to the next one. With more Indian districts interested in sending doctors, and African districts interested in hosting them, he expects the number of trips to increase, even if his own attendance becomes less frequent.
Many mission participants, both first-timers and veterans, say they plan to return, though it sometimes entails a significant personal and professional sacrifice. Karvekar, whose own son underwent heart surgery in India just days before he traveled to Kigali, is one of them. “I’d wanted to go on one of these trips for a while,” he says, noting that the mission was his longest absence from his family’s private clinic, where he’s the only orthopedic surgeon on staff. “There were a lot of challenging cases, but fortunately we were able to do them well and, I think, give the patients a good result.”
“It is totally a labor of love,” adds Saboo, speaking for himself as well as the team of doctors. “When they come here, there’s no compensation. They come purely because they want to extend their services to humanity beyond their own borders.”
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