Nearly 6 million children under the age of five die each year because of malnutrition, poor health care, and inadequate sanitation. Rotary undertakes projects in many countries world-wide which aim to make high-quality health care available to vulnerable mothers and children so they can live longer and grow stronger. Through expanded access to quality care, mothers and children everywhere can have the same opportunities for a healthy future.
Rotary provides education, immunizations, birth kits, and mobile health clinics. Women are taught how to prevent mother-to-infant HIV transmission, how to breast-feed, and how to protect themselves and their children from disease. Rotary programs improve women’s access to skilled health personnel: doctors, nurses, midwives, and community health care workers.
Clubs in Japan and Brazil used a Rotary Foundation global grant to equip a hospital with lifesaving neonatal equipment. The Rotary Club of Registro-Ouro and the Rotary Club of Registro in Brazil partnered on the global grant with two clubs in Nakatsugawa, Japan. Through the partnership, Brazilian Rotarians raised $172,500. They funded equipment, including five incubators for the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), which nearly doubled the hospital’s capacity to care for fragile newborns. Other equipment provided through the grant included five ventilators, a bilirubin meter, three heated cribs, five vital-sign monitors, and a super LED micro-processed phototherapy unit to treat babies with jaundice. The grant also funded the cost of publicity to inform residents about prenatal care workshops conducted by area health workers.
Through the use of technology, doctors are bringing health care to women and children living in rural Nigeria. On a visit to southern Nigeria, Dr. James K. Gude of Sebastopol, Calif., and Mikel Cook of the Rotary Club of Sebastopol Sunrise learned how hard it can be to bring medical care to rural areas, with very limited access to physicians. Dr Gude and the Sebastopol Sunrise Rotarians are part of a larger effort to bring technology to bear on the problem, using telemedicine – the use of information technology to provide health care from a distance – to bring doctors to patients virtually. And thanks to a global grant from The Rotary Foundation, a team of health care professionals from Nigeria has been trained in telemedicine.
Further information on these and other global projects addressing issues impacting on maternal and child health can be found at: