Posted by Sharmila Bhatt on Apr 08, 2019

Many years back during a visit to an orphanage to hand over some milk powder and nappies to the babies, we met the supervisor who was in charge. She was a stern looking woman and I expected her to be so happy with our donations. To my utter surprise, I found her so rude as she quickly told us that if we really wanted to assist then we should have bought rice and other items she listed, and she dismissed us with some indifference.

I couldn’t believe the anger rising in me with thoughts of how someone can be so rude to us when we were there to help her. Discussions within the group started that we should take the food and donations elsewhere. But at the same time, we saw so many babies in the orphanage in dire need of our assistance and at this point a realisation hit me – was our ego more important at being hurt by a stern supervisor and were we making our giving conditional? We could not deny the babies of our service and also needed to appreciate that the supervisor knew a lot more about the needs than we did.So, we went back and bought the items she requested for. Many of us are too busy making assumptions about what is good for others but in reality, we need to make far more effort to better understand those we want to help and learn to subdue our egos for the greater good.


In Kitgum a district in Northern Uganda, Women in the mountains have no means of transport or rescue services to bring them down to nearby hospitals during labour. Rotarians have built a 20-bed maternity waiting home and motor bike ambulances are used to bring pregnant women from the mountains to the waiting home and midwives are trained on how to use modern equipment like ultrasound to handle safe delivery of babies. 


In Dar es Salaam, Rotarians support a hospital called CCBRT where stigmatised women suffering from Fistula a preventable childbirth injury, mostly due to complicated deliveries and lack of facilities , are received from all over the country and a repair operation is carried out giving these women a new lease of life.


These are just some examples of the excellent work our District does in the area of Maternal & Child Health.


In the last week of April, the world will celebrate World Immunization Week which aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Thanks to Rotarians global effort to Eradicate polio by immunisation, millions of lives are saved every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions. 


The theme this year is Protected Together: Vaccines Work!,  and we know from the 350,000 cases in 1998 we are down to about 22 cases and almost at a point of eradication so let us celebrate the Vaccine Heroes from around the world – the Rotarians, parents and community members to health workers and innovators – who help ensure we are all protected through the power of vaccines.


Your DG is eagerly awaiting to welcome you all to the 94th DCA .