‘The health of a mother and child is a more telling measure of a nation’s state than economic indicators.’
-Harjit Gill, Chief Executive Officer, ASEAN & Pacific
Rotary International’s theme for the month of April is Maternal and Child Health.
We are extremely lucky that in Australia, generally our maternal and child health is of a high standard. But this is not the case in the rest of the world. An estimated 5.9 million children under the age of five, die each year because of malnutrition, inadequate health care and poor sanitation. All of these conditions can be prevented and that is where Rotary International steps in. There are hundreds of projects throughout the world which are undertaken by Rotary Clubs, just like ours, that expand access to quality healthcare, giving mothers and children the opportunity to have a healthy future.
Rotary provides education, immunisations, birth kits and mobile health clinics, just to mention a few. Women are taught how to prevent mother-to-infant HIV transmission, how to breast-feed and how to protect their children and themselves from disease.
The projects are too numerous to list here but there are a couple of inspiring ones that I would like to mention:
Haiti has the highest maternal and infant mortality rate of any country in the western hemisphere. Rotary provided a fully equipped medical jeep to volunteers and midwives to reach children and mothers in remote areas.
A vocational training team consisting of two gynaecologists and two midwives travelled from Australia to Raipur, India to train local health workers on the best obstetrical practices. This project aimed at reducing the very high mortality rates of mothers and children due to childbirth.
We can be extremely proud that Rotary provides such assistance to mothers and children in need, giving them the opportunity to live longer and grow stronger.