Category Archives: News from TRF

Polio vaccinators make significant headway in Nigeria

A polio worker marks the side of a house in Kano, Nigeria, to indicate the children were not at home and a follow-up visit will needed to ensure they are vaccinated.
Photo Credit: Diego Ibarra Sánchez
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Nigeria is closer than ever to eradicating polio, riding a successful effort to reach children in seven northern states at highest risk for the disease.

“Rotarians have [gone] into remote areas of the country by car, canoe, motorbike, and even on foot to ensure every child gets the vaccine,” says Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus Committee Chair Tunji Funsho.

In Katsina state, members of the Nigeria PolioPlus Committee (NPPC) recently met with leaders of two communities notoriously opposed to immunization, mainly on religious grounds and in protest of the lack of basic health care. They persuaded the leaders to endorse vaccination by obtaining government assurance that mobile health camps would provide free checkups, medications, immunization against diseases besides polio, and other services.

“It was very encouraging to see the positive impact of engaging these leaders . . . witnessed by the huge turnout of crowds at the health camps and women willingly presenting their children for vaccination in households, quranic schools, and other locations,” reports the NPPC. “[The camps] are one of the proven ‘quick wins’ to untie the knots of persistent noncompliance in some settlements across the high-risk states.”

Along with Pakistan and Afghanistan, Nigeria has never stopped transmission of the wild poliovirus. However, it has recorded only three polio cases so far this year (as of 3 June), down from 24 cases for the same period in 2013.

The NPPC began providing funding for the health camps in May. And in response to community demands for clean water, some Rotary clubs are sponsoring projects to install boreholes.

In high-risk states like Katsina, “the mere participation of community leaders, allowing their own children to be vaccinated or pronouncing the acceptance of OPV [oral polio vaccine] is enough to encourage community members to allow the vaccination teams into their homes,” says Funsho.

Rotary field coordinators are helping close immunization gaps in northern Nigeria by gaining public support from government and community leaders through providing technical support, and monitoring the quality of vaccination teams.

“In the security challenged areas, measures such as ‘fire walling,’ which ensures that children going in and out of Borno and Yobe states are immunized, have been put in place,” says Funsho. Teams of health workers and security agency personnel also use “hit and run” tactics to immunize children and withdraw in two days’ time or less, he adds.

The NPPC promotes public awareness of the need to eradicate polio through community billboards and posters, along with distributing T-shirts, caps, and aprons to health workers. And it has engaged national celebrities like musician and actor Sani Musa Danja to encourage vaccine acceptance in communities where pockets of opposition still exist.

In April, Rotary joined the Federal Ministry of Health in sponsoring the Nigeria Polio Summit. Governors of high-risk states, religious and traditional leaders, national and global health officials, Rotary members, and others focused on best practices in the country’s drive to become polio free.

Funsho and others are optimistic that Nigeria can stop polio transmission by the end of 2014, one of the goals of the . Rotary is a leading partner in the .

“The greatest challenge . . . will be the preparations for the 2015 elections,” said Dr. Oyewale Tomori, chair of Nigeria’s Expert Review Committee on Polio Eradication, in a recent . “Every election year since 2003 has been characterized by abandonment of good governance, and subsequently accompanied by a surge in polio cases.”

To help Nigeria seize the opportunity to end polio this year, Rotary released $7 million to the GPEI to in the country. And business leader and philanthropist has contributed $2.25 million to PolioPlus.

“The Nigerian government, now supported by the international community, is doing all that it can to eliminate the widespread violence, abductions, and terrorism,” says Sir Emeka, a member of the Rotary Club of Awka GRA and Rotary’s polio ambassador in Nigeria. “Peace would facilitate polio eradication, but we cannot sit by and wait until that time comes. We must do what we can to find ways to end polio now.”

Rotary News

 

Celebrating Rotary’s anniversary

 

This week marks 110 years since Paul P. Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram E. Shorey gathered in Loehr’s office in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago for what would become known as the first Rotary club meeting. It also is 30 years since Rotary launched its campaign to rid the world of polio.

Rotary clubs are celebrating the milestones in a variety of ways. The Rotary Club of Mt. Warning AM, New South Wales, Australia, gave away pancakes and handouts on the village’s main street.

“Our brand stood out because of our signage, the shirts we wore, and the handouts we brought,” says club president Kaileen Casey. “It was a very relaxed comfortable environment with lots of laughter. It’s important for people to feel at ease and to ask questions. This is the way to increase our awareness in the community.”

Send us photos of your event to be included in the gallery above and let us know what you are doing in a comment below.

Clubs celebrate Rotary’s anniversary, 30 years of PolioPlus

President-elect urges Rotary members to ‘Be a Gift to the World’

 

President-elect urges Rotary members to ‘Be a Gift to the World’

RI President-elect K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran announces his presidential theme for 2015-16, Be a Gift to the World, at the opening session of the International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA.
Photo Credit: Rotary International/Monika Lozinska

Using their talents, expertise, and leadership, Rotary members worldwide are asked to be gifts to the world this upcoming 2015-16 Rotary year.

Rotary International President-elect K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran called Sunday’s address to incoming district governors the “most significant moment of my life.”

“All of you have been given so many gifts. And you have now been given this great gift: one year to take all your talents, all your gifts, everything that you are and can become — and Be a Gift to the World,” said Ravindran, revealing his presidential theme at the annual five-day training meeting in San Diego, California, USA. “You have one year to take that potential and turn it into reality. One year to lead the clubs in your district and transform the lives of others. The time is so short, yet there is so much to be done.”

Highlighting Rotary’s biggest challenge, the eradication of polio, Ravindran said, “A future without polio is a gift that we have promised to the children of the world. And indeed it is a gift that we will give.”

Ravindran, a member of the Rotary Club of Colombo, Sri Lanka, used Rotary’s successes in the fight to eradicate the disease as an illustration of the impact Rotary members can have in the world. When Rotary set a goal of eradicating polio 25 years ago, it was endemic in 125 countries, and more than 1,000 children were becoming paralyzed each day. Today, polio remains endemic in just three countries, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. And in all of 2014, only 333 cases were reported. “We will battle on. We will prevail,” he said.

Ravindran discussed some of Rotary’s other challenges, including membership.

“We have to find a way to bring back the fundamentals that built our organization: the emphasis on high ethical standards in all aspects of our lives, and the classification system that encourages a diversity of expertise in each club,” he said. “Too often these ideas are viewed as little more than inconvenient obstacles to increasing our membership. But they have been essential to Rotary’s success, and we ignore them at our own peril.”

Ravindran told attendees that the focus on branding is essential to helping Rotary grow. “We need to reposition our image, which we recognize has faded in many parts of the world,” he said.

Rotary also needs to continue to raise funds for The Rotary Foundation, attract new members, and encourage greater participation from current members, he added.

“There are no easy answers to any of these questions. And yet the answers must somehow be found. We are the ones who must find them,” said Ravindran.

The president-elect closed his speech emphasizing that now is the time to make real change.

“You have one year to build monuments that will endure forever, not carved in granite or marble, but in the lives and hearts of generations. This is our time. It will not come again. Let us grasp it,” he said.

Follow the assembly on and using #IA15

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How to make The Rotary Foundation work best for you!

This just came in and I am sure that you will find it useful to assist in our push to get total engagement with EVERY ROTARIAN contributing to grow our Foundation revenue. The three year cycle only works well if the contributions come in at the beginning of year one of the cycle. Australia and New Zealand and traditionally May June contributors. Let’s try and change that habit and get more personal giving to occur in the early half of our Rotary year. This allows for more time in the investment cycle to generate cost coverage, that interest on 2.5 to 3 years investment against two years if contributions are at the end of year one.

Three year giving TRF