Working to Eradicate Polio

Nigeria reaches crucial polio milestone

By Ryan Hyland

Volunteers vaccinate children in Maiduguri, Nigeria, against polio, marking the houses they’ve visited.
Photo by Andrew Esiebo

It’s been three years since health officials last reported a case of polio caused by the wild poliovirus in Nigeria. The milestone, reached on 21 August, means that it’s possible for the entire World Health Organization (WHO) African region to be certified wild poliovirus-free next year.

Nigeria’s success is the result of several sustained efforts, including domestic and international financing, the commitment of thousands of health workers, and strategies to immunize children who previously couldn’t be reached because of a lack of security in the country’s northern states.

“Rotary, its Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners, and the Nigerian government have strengthened immunization and disease detection systems,” says Michael K. McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee. He adds: “We are now reaching more children than ever in some of the hardest-to-reach places in Nigeria.”

McGovern says Rotary members in Nigeria play an important role in ridding the country of the disease. “Rotarians have been hard at work raising awareness for polio eradication, advocating with the government, and addressing other basic health needs to complement polio eradication efforts, like providing clean water to vulnerable communities.”

Nigeria is the last country in Africa where polio is endemic. Once Africa is certified as free of the wild poliovirus, five of the WHO’s six regions will be free of wild polio. Polio remains endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which means transmission of the virus has never been stopped.

Dr. Tunji Funsho, chair of Rotary’s Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee, acknowledges the milestone but cautions Rotary members about celebrating too soon. He cites the challenge of making certain that routine immunizations reach every child in Nigeria.

“It’s paramount that we ensure all doors are locked to the re-entry of the wild poliovirus into our country,” says Funsho.

Funsho says to achieve this, Rotary needs to maintain strong advocacy efforts, continue to increase awareness of immunization campaigns, and ensure members raise necessary funds. Rotary has contributed $268 million to fight polio in Nigeria.

“As the first organization to dream of a polio-free world, Rotary is committed to fulfilling our promise,” says McGovern. “Our progress in Nigeria is a big step toward that goal, but we need to maintain momentum so that Pakistan and Afghanistan see the same level of progress.”

Join Rotary on World Polio Day, 24 October, to celebrate our progress. Help us reach our goal of a polio-free world by donating today.

Lotus Program Sri Lanka November 2021

We recently received this feedback from a primary English teacher in one of the Lotus Program schools in Sri Lanka.

“My school is situated in Trincomalee district. There are more than 35 children in each classes. I am one and only English teacher in my school. I faced a lot of issues in my teaching career. I am a university graduate but I haven’t had any training for primary teaching. I want to tell something about our Lotus program. I have learned and am learning a lot of teaching strategies from the Lotus program. It’s an amazing experience for me. Every day I learn step by step through this program. I always try to learn new things and I always try to use them with my beloved students. I started my journey under the guidance of PIMD group. In grade 2 I begin by teaching only phonics sound through big books and posters given to us by PIMD. Every day I sing and dance with them and show how to pronouns all sounds. They all were interested. I always follow the guidelines and videos given by Lotus program. They were very helpful to me. In grade 3 I started to give dictations as the students learnt to write the sounds. First I gave them only two or three letters words and then one sentence, two sentence. Now they can write paragraphs. I am so happy about that. My grade 3 students can write long paragraphs as dictations. I tell them sounds and they can identify the sounds and write. It’s an amazing. The Lotus program is a very successful method. After the students start writing dictations I used the story books given by PIMD. Even today I am learning lot of things from this program. I have no words to thank them. My students are learning English very happily and joyfully. I can do lot of things in my school through this program. Thank you very much again and again.”

Protecting the Environment

Rotary shares an interest in protecting our common legacy: the environment.

PP Darcy Geale has accepted the role of representing the Environment in our Club.

We are committed to supporting activities that strengthen the conservation and protection of natural resources, advance ecological sustainability, and foster harmony between communities and the environment.

We empower communities to access grants and other resources, embrace local solutions, and spur innovation in an effort to address the causes and reduce the effects of climate change and environmental degradation.

HOW ROTARY WILL HELP PROTECT OUR PLANET

The Rotary Foundation will enable our members and their community allies through provision of funding.

$US18.4 million in Foundation global grant funding has been allocated to environment-related causes in the past five years through our support of community economic development and water, sanitation, and hygiene projects.

Clubs and their community allies will take action in these ways:

  • Protecting and restoring land, coastal, marine, and freshwater resources
  • Enhancing the capacity of communities to support natural resource management and conservation
  • Supporting sustainable agriculture, fishing, and aquaculture practices
  • Addressing the cause of climate change by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases
  • Strengthening ecosystems and communities affected by climate change supporting education initiatives that promote behavior that protects the environment
  • Advocating for sustainable consumption to build an economy that uses resources more efficiently
  • Addressing environmental justice issues and public health concerns

The Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation transforms your gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world.

The Rotary Foundation helps Rotary members to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace by improving health, providing quality education, improving the environment, and alleviating poverty.

To support our Foundation by donation please make a direct deposit to our Club Service account:

Account Name: The Rotary E-Club Serving Humanity – Service/Projects,
Reference – Your name plus ‘TRF’
BSB: 032769           Account: 697413

My Work In Peru.

By Bev Cooney

In 2003 I first travelled to Peru to visit as a tourist. This is when I learned how well off we are in Australia. The poverty there is really terrible and people are begging in every town I visited. During Covid-19 it has been particularly bad.

We constantly hear how it has devastated the developed countries like the United States of America and Britain and Europe but most don’t realize that Peru was far worse, per capita, than those countries and in fact all of the rest of the world, when it came to deaths. When I read about the number of deaths and the problems that they had with and getting the vaccines out to the population on the WHO site I was devastated. In the years I have been working there with many medical teams I have gotten to know many doctors and nursed from the cities, the Amazon Jungle and the high Andes cities, and have many friends in places most people don’t get to visit.   

My dearest friend is a man whom I met when I first travelled over there. He was a tour guide and worked for an Australian company called Tucan Travel.

I have been working with him ever since. His name is Rudy and I just love him to bits. He comes and works in the theatres when we travel there to look after the children of the poor. He ONLY speaks 6 languages and gives of his time to help us out in the theatres, by translating to the staff there in the hospitals. What a gem.

Rudy and I have been working together during Covid-19 to feed the people living on the streets as they are literally starving to death. So sad. What a great thing he has done in doing this. He and his mum buy all the food and prepare it and make up the meals, and that is hundreds of them, to take out to the homeless. I was able to organize many recipes for them, all of which came from websites here on feeding the homeless. I also send the money for them to buy the food and they cook it. He has a team of friends who distribute the food.

I am currently getting together a team of medicos and nurses to travel to the jungle to treat trachoma in 2022. Rudy will be there working with us yet again. What a man he is. He put together the attached video showing the work they do in the streets right now.

Update on PNG Covid19 Crisis

The Covid19 Delta variant is ravaging Papua New Guinea and due to our proximity Australia needs to assist.

Rotary Kula Spirit Floating Clinic has been supporting Port Moresby General Hospital and Rita Flynn Field Hospital by providing PPE, masks, Oxygen Concentrators, oxygen lines to help alleviate suffering.

Professor Glen Mola, head of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at Port Moresby General Hospital has been using the Kula Spirit supplies held aboard the floating clinic to help with his task in saving mothers and babies.

We are continuing to airfreight these items needed to fight the Covid 19 infections in Papua New Guinea.

Please help us to help Papua New Guinea.

Donate to Kula Spirit Floating Clinic, RAWCS Project – 18-2009-10

Orkeeswa – building a sustainable leadership pipeline

In September 2021, the Leadership Team at Orkeeswa in rural Tanzania visited 65 homes in 8 villages as part of the annual student selection process. Leading the selection process this year were two Orkeeswa alumni who have deep and meaningful relationships within their community. Because of Orkeeswa’s outreach program in the local primary school, the team are familiar with most of the students who applied. And, new Pre-Form One students are now being taught by Orkeeswa alumni 

Using the community as a classroom, Orkeeswa invests in student-centered, skills-based learning for young people at three critical points:

  • Orkeeswa Outreach uses trained and motivated Orkeeswa student and alumni leaders to run holistic programming in local primary schools;
  • Orkeeswa School provides high-quality academics, robust co-curricular programs, student wellness services, and community-based leadership through a holistic secondary school experience; 
  • Orkeeswa Incubator supports the ongoing impact of alumni through professional development, higher education scholarships, and small grants and mentorship for entrepreneurs. 

Orkeeswa is growing, and extending its reach in a self-sustaining cycle of leadership development and community impact.

You can assist this project sponsored by the Rotary E-Club Serving Humanity, D9705 by making your tax deductible donation here: