The Rotary International President, John F. Germ and his dear wife Judy, joined celebrations to mark 60 years of Rotary in Uganda and 100 years of The Rotary Foundation on 25th- 28th February 2017. They were in the country on the invitation of the Rotary International President Nominee, Sam Frobisher Owori.
The highly impactful visit saw the RI President commission three health facilities in the country: a Rotary Blood Bank at Mengo hospital, a Rotary-Centenary Bank Cancer Centre at Nsambya hospital and a Rotary hospital at Ngandu- Mukono district.
 
The RI President commissioned the Rotary blood bank jointly with the Prime Minister of Uganda, Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda  on 27th Feb 2017, and was grateful that this project will save many precious lives. The Rotary Blood Bank is built to bridge the blood stock deficit of 100,000 units.  Statistics from Uganda Red Cross Society indicate that 250,000 units of blood are distributed to all hospitals in Uganda annually, compared to the recommended 350,000 units by World Health Organization (WHO).
 
At this event, Past District Governor (PDG) Emmanuel Katongole presented a cheque worth USD $10,000 to the RI President, to be passed unto The Rotary Foundation (TRF). “This is a humble contribution to The Rotary Foundation as a sign of appreciation. We shall continue supporting this foundation because it is our Foundation,” remarked PDG Katongole. Funds for the Rotary Blood Bank were raised through a number of ways including contributions from Corporate companies, Rotarians and a jazz fundraising concert held on 26th Feb. 2017 with renowned South African Jazz legend Hugh Masekela and Uganda’s Sax maestro Isaiah Katumwa. The RI President and his dear wife attended this concert and were visibly amazed by the performance.
 
President John F. Germ also commissioned the Rotary hospital in Mukono on 26th Feb. 2017. This hospital was constructed in response to the inadequate health facilities in Mukono district, especially in light of the numerous road accidents along the Jinja road (highway). Victims of such accidents are usually referred to either Kawolo hospital or Mulago hospital, both of which are far away. The Rotary hospital in Mukono presents a much closer option and is envisaged to use telemedicine facilities in liaison with doctors in the USA and India. At this event, the President of the Rotary Club of Kampala, Rtn. Stephen Lwanga, presented the RI President with a souvenir magazine chronicling the 60-year journey of Rotary in Uganda.
 
On 28th Feb. 2017, the RI President commissioned the Rotary-Centenary Bank Cancer Centre at Nsambya hospital, constructed in response to the growing number of cancer patients in the country. This centre is currently functional but is in dire need of a linear accelerator. Uganda does not own one currently, necessitating cancer patients in need of radiotherapy to be flown out of the country.
According to PDG Stephen Mwanje, “this state-of-the art linear accelerator customizes high energy x-rays to conform to a tumor’s shape and destroy cancer cells while sparing surrounding normal tissue. Fundraising efforts for this machine will continue through the famous Rotary cancer runs and through contributions from well-wishers.”
 
The RI President and his dear wife also participated in the annual charity walk organized by the Rotary Cub of Kampala North, dubbed ‘World Understanding and Peace charity walk,’ at the Lugogo Cricket oval. The District Governor D9211 (Uganda and Tanzania), Jayesh Asher was grateful to the RI President for honouring the invitation to join Uganda in celebrating 60 years of service to humanity and 100 years of The Rotary Foundation. He presented the RI President with an art piece, made in backcloth, a national heritage, at a TRF dinner in Muyenga- a Kampala suburb on 25th Feb. 2017. At this dinner, special recognition was given to all who had contributed to TRF this Rotary year in various capacities including Paul Harris Fellow (PHF), Major Donors, Sustaining PHFs, Multiple PHFS and Every Rotarian Every Year.
President Germ also attended a joint fellowship of Rotarians, Rotaractors and Interactors, hosted by the Rotary Club of Kampala South. He challenged the audience to stay committed to improving humanity. “You know the needs, you know what is necessary to improve Uganda and to improve this continent, but do you have the vision, do you have the desire, commitment and perseverance to accomplish it? I hope that working together we do have that vision, and I say we because we are all in the people business,” he said. The Country Chair, Xavier Sentamu noted that the visit of the RI President to Uganda and subsequently to Rotary D9211, was very inspirational and will propel more service projects to humanity.
 
In his parting remarks, the RI President noted that, “Even if Rotary has been in Uganda for 60 years and has accomplished a lot, there is still much more that needs to be accomplished and I am sure that Rotary will continue to work hard in this community and all around the world to help solve not only health care problems but educational and environmental problems as well. Thank you and may God bless each and every one of you.”
Article by  Marion Alina