Saturday, 24 October 2015

Celebrities, health officials come together to hail progress toward polio’s end

After a historic year during which transmission of the wild poliovirus vanished from Nigeria and the continent of Africa, the crippling disease is closer than ever to being eradicated worldwide, said top health experts at Rotary’s third annual World Polio Day event on 23 October in New York City.

More than 150 people attended the special Livestream program co-sponsored by UNICEF, and thousands more around the world watched online. Jeffrey Kluger, Time magazine’s editor at large, moderated the event.

Anthony Lake, executive director of UNICEF, lauded the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s efforts. After nearly 30 years, the GPEI, which includes Rotary, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is on the cusp of ending polio. It would be only the second human disease ever to be eradicated. 

Lake urged the partners not to lose their momentum: “At a time when the world is torn by conflicts, when the bonds among people seem weaker and more frayed than ever before, ending polio will be not only one of humanity’s greatest achievements, but a singular and striking example of what can be achieved when diverse partners are driven by a common goal -- when  we act as one,” he said.

The event highlighted recent milestones in polio eradication: In July, Nigeria marked one year without a case, and in August, the entire African continent celebrated one year without an outbreak. That leaves just two countries where the virus is regularly spreading: Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In a question-and-answer session with Kluger, Dr. John Vertefeuille, polio incident manager for the CDC, discussed the reasons for Nigeria’s success, including strong political commitment at all levels and the support and engagement of religious and community leaders.

“The foundation to Nigeria’s success has been the incredible dedication of tens of thousands of health workers who have worked, often in difficult circumstances, to ensure that all children are reached with the polio vaccine,” said Vertefeuille.

Innovative changes, including strategies for reaching children who were often missed in the past, better mechanisms for ensuring the accountability of health workers, and the engagement of doctors, journalists, and polio survivors, also aided Nigeria in reaching its goal.

Polio eradication is progressing in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Afghanistan, cases dropped from 28 in 2014 to 13 so far this year. In Pakistan, transmission of the disease dropped dramatically, from 306 cases to 38.

Kluger and Vertefeuille agreed that eradicating polio is a wise financial investment. Vertefeuille said financial savings of $50 billion are projected over the next 20 years.

Failure to eradicate polio, he noted, could result in a global resurgence of the disease, with 200,000 new cases every single year within 10 years.

Celebrities add their voices

Archie Panjabi, Emmy Award-winning actress and Rotary celebrity ambassador for polio eradication, praised Rotary’s success in banishing polio from India in 2012. “I’ve immunized children, feeling pure joy when I placed just two drops of vaccine into a child’s mouth, which are like two drops of life,” she said.

The audience also heard from musician, activist, and Grammy award-winner Angélique Kidjo, who performed a song from her latest album, “Eve.”

Dr. Jennifer Berman, cohost of the Emmy Award-winning television show “The Doctors” called Rotary’s role in eradicating polio “one of those transformative initiatives that uses the insights of science to improve the human condition.”

The program also featured video messages from Bill Gates; Mia Farrow, actress and polio survivor; Heidi Klum, model and celebrity businessperson; and two new Rotary polio ambassadors, WWE star John Cena and actress Kristen Bell.

“How do we stop polio forever? How do we ensure that no child has to suffer this disease ever again? It’s easy to help. Spread the word, donate, or simply take this opportunity to learn more,” said Bell.

Rotary boosts funding

Rotary General Secretary John Hewko announced an additional $40.4 million Rotary will direct to the fight against polio. More than $26 million will go to African countries to prevent the disease from returning. Rotary has also earmarked $5.3 million for India, $6.7 for Pakistan, and $400,000 for Iraq. Nearly $1 million will support immunization activities and surveillance. Since 1979, Rotary has contributed more than $1.5 billion to polio eradication.

“Our program this evening will show how far we have come -- and what we still have to do -- to slam the door on polio for good,” said Hewko. “Once we do, not only will we end the suffering of children from this entirely preventable disease -- we will also create a blueprint for the next major global health initiative and leave in place resources to protect the world’s health in the future.”

Event sponsors included Global Benefits Group, Spencer Trask & Company, Sanofi Pasteur, and Grant Thornton. Devex was the event’s media partner.

Rotary honors six women for leadership and humanitarian service

Rotary President K.R. Ravindran has named six Rotary Global Women of Action for 2015. The honorees were chosen for their dedication and service, which has improved the lives of thousands around the world.

“Every day at Rotary I see first hand how our members work to change lives and make a significant impact,” said Ravindran. “Rotary’s Global Women of Action embody Rotary’s motto, Service Above Self.”

The women will be honored at Rotary Day at the United Nations in New York City on 7 November. They will address attendees and lead discussions on various topics related to their work.

The six were selected by Rotary senior leaders and staff from more than 100 nominees from around the world. They are:

·        Dr. Hashrat A. Begum, of the Rotary Club of Dhaka North West, Bangladesh, who has implemented several large-scale projects to deliver health care to poor and underserved communities.

·        Stella S. Dongo, of the Rotary Club of Highlands, Zimbabwe, who leads the Community Empowerment Project in the city of Harare. The project provides basic business and computer training to more than 6,000 women and youths affected by HIV/AIDS.

·        Lucy C. Hobgood-Brown, of the Rotary E-Club of Greater Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, who cofounded HandUp Congo, a nonprofit that promotes and facilitates sustainable, community-driven business, educational, social, and health initiatives to underprivileged communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

·        Razia Jan, of the Rotary Club of Duxbury, Massachusetts, USA, who has spent decades fighting for girls’ educational rights in Afghanistan. An Afghan native, she is the founder and director of the Zabuli Education Center, a school that provides free education to more than 480 girls in Deh’Subz, Afghanistan. She was also recognized as a CNN Hero in 2012.

·        Kerstin Jeska-Thorwart, of the Rotary Club of Nürnberg-Sigena, Germany, who launched the Babyhospital Galle project after surviving the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka. With a budget of $1.8 million and the support of 200 Rotary clubs, the project rebuilt and equipped the Mahamodara Teaching Hospital, in Galle, Sri Lanka. The hospital has served more than 150,000 children and more than 2.2 million women.

·        Dr. Deborah K. W. Walters, of the Rotary Club of Unity, Maine, USA, a neuroscientist who has served as director of Safe Passage (Camino Seguro), a nonprofit that provides educational and social services to families who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump.


Saturday, 8 August 2015

POLIO FREE new case for one year...

Watch a video on
AFRICA... one year Polio Free...
One year without a single case of Polio...

AFRICA – one year without a case of Polio…almost Polio Free

Just a few days from now, on 11 August, we will mark a tremendous milestone: one full year without a single case of polio caused by wild poliovirus in Africa.

The magnitude of this achievement can hardly be overstated. A polio-free Africa has been within sight, so near and yet so far, for over a decade. The hard work and commitment that have brought us to this point have been nothing short of heroic. Tens of thousands of health workers reached hundreds of millions of children with vaccine, in some of the most difficult conditions imaginable. Together, we have done what once seemed impossible: We have stopped polio in Africa.

Yet this progress, momentous as it is, is still fragile. As long as polio exists in the two remaining endemic countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the virus still has the potential to spread and to spark new outbreaks. Now, more than ever, we need the power of all of Rotary to carry us through to the end: not just a polio-free Africa, but a polio-free world.

Wherever you live, whether your country has just conquered polio or has been polio-free for decades, we need your voice, and your help. I ask all of you to read and use the materials in this tool kit to find ways to raise awareness in your community, and beyond. We need every Rotarian, in every Rotary club, to be talking about polio: making sure that media outlets report on our progress and our elected officials see polio eradication as a global priority. Your grassroots work helps drive the increased media coverage we have seen in the past year, which in turn drives global backing of our work to eradicate polio. Together, we will keep polio front and center in our communities and on our national agendas, keeping up the energy and the momentum that will push us through to the finish.

The battle in Africa has, for the moment, been won, but we need the strength of every Rotarian to help us win the war. Together, we will End Polio Now and truly Be a Gift to the World.

Warm regards,
K.R. Ravindran
President, Rotary International

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

RI President K.R. Ravindran encourages us to use our gifts — talents, knowledge, abilities, and efforts to make a significant impact through fellowship and service activities. Through vocational service, we champion high ethical standards in the workplace, use our professional expertise to serve others, and improve local and international communities. Here are just a few ideas for activities your clubs can undertake:
  • Host a business networking event with non-Rotarian professionals in your community.
  • Offer career counseling for unemployed or underemployed adults.
  • Mentor youth with career guidance.
  • Recognise local businesses for high ethical standards.
  • Apply your professional skills to a project.
Review the humanitarian service goals to learn how your vocational service projects can help your club qualify for the 2015-16 Presidential Citation.
Resources & reference
An Introduction to Vocational Service Get information, resources, and project ideas related to vocational service.

Rotary Ideas Search Rotary's online database of club and district service projects in need of assistance.

Rotary Code of Conduct A set of ethical guidelines for Rotarians.

The Four-Way Test An ethical guide to use for personal and professional relationships.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Nigeria on the brink of becoming polio-free

Nigeria has gone almost one year — longer than ever before — without a case of wild poliovirus. The last case was reported on 24 July 2014 in Kano state. Once the gateway to polio in Africa, Nigeria is paving the way to eradicating the disease on the continent.

But reaching the milestone is only one step on the final road to ending polio and it is too soon to celebrate victory. Until polio is eliminated everywhere, it can return to Nigeria and the rest of Africa. Less than a decade ago, in 2006, polio paralyzed 1,000 people in Nigeria.

For the African region to be certified polio-free, including Nigeria, there must be no polio cases for two more years. To do this, all children in Nigeria and throughout Africa — including those in hard-to-reach and underserved areas — must continue to be protected against the disease. 

“The ultimate goal is to ensure that the routine immunization infrastructure is established to increase and sustain the level of herd immunity” [protection for people who are not immune that occurs when a large percentage of the population has been vaccinated], says Tunji Funsho, chair of the Nigeria PolioPlus Committee. This will enable children to “continue to be immunized on schedule and protected from the virus even after the cessation of IPDs [Immunization Plus Days].” 

Once all surveillance data is processed, Nigeria will be poised to be taken off the list of polio-endemic countries by the World Health Organization (WHO) in September. That achievement would leave only two polio-endemic countries: Pakistan and Afghanistan. In 2014, Pakistan accounted for 85 percent of the world’s polio cases. As of 17 June, polio cases in Pakistan had decreased by nearly 70 percent.

“With Rotary, we made tremendous progress last year,” said Hamid Jafari, WHO’s Director for Global Polio Eradication and Research, speaking to attendees at the Rotary International Convention in São Paulo, Brazil, in June. “We must keep going to end polio. If the world’s commitment to polio eradication remains strong, we will soon see a polio-free world.”

Your donation will assist us in reaching a Polio Free World

Thursday, 23 July 2015


I am very pleased to advise you that GETS and the Rotary Institute of Zone 20A is being held in Mombasa, Kenya from 14th to 19th September 2015.
Please note that SA citizens do not require a visa if their stay is for 30 days or less. Where their stay will be longer than 30 days then a visa is required. Should you require a visa then kindly click on the link below to do the application.
Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya, with an estimated population of 1.3 million. A regional cultural and economic hub, Mombasa has a large port and an international airport, and is an important regional tourism centre. Located on the east coast of Kenya, in Mombasa County and the former Coast Province, Mombasa's bordering the Indian Ocean made it a historical trading centre and it has been controlled by many countries because of its strategic location

Weather:        Average 25 degrees C
Local time  Mombasa is 1 hour ahead of SA time
Currency:     Kenyan Shilling (approx 100KES to 1 US$)