By Rotary Service and Engagement
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 which can be prevented. Rotary members expand access to quality care, so mothers and children everywhere can have the same opportunities for a healthy future. Members provide 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.
During April, Rotary Maternal and Child Health Month, take action to support mothers and children! If your club or district needs help from sector experts to start a large-scale project focused on maternal and child health, Rotarian Action Groups (RAGs) can help. Action Groups are organized by committed Rotarians, Rotarians’ family members, and Rotary program participants and alumni who have expertise and a passion for a particular type of service. Learn about our current Groups with expertise in maternal and child health, and contact them directly for assistance with starting a new, or expanding an existing, initiative:
- With 13,500 worldwide members, the Rotarian Action Group for Population & Development (RFPD) has the largest membership of any action group. RFPD assists with projects addressing the intersection of unsustainable development, human suffering, and overpopulation, such as access to health services. The group maintains information on maternal health projects that clubs/districts can help sponsor.
- The Rotarian Action Group for Healthy Pregnancies / Healthy Children (RAG HP/HC) is focused on reducing child and maternal mortality. The group is working with clubs and districts to provide education and promote awareness of prenatal care.
- RAG4CLUBFOOT provides global leadership to eliminate clubfoot disability and aims to raise public awareness about clubfoot deformity to reduce associated stigma. The group can also help clubs and districts conduct a community assessment, identify international partners, incorporate sustainability components, secure funding, advise on Global Grant applications, create a plan for monitoring and evaluation, promote an ongoing/completed project, and speak or present at meetings/events on the topic.
Looking for some inspiration? Here are just a few examples of Rotary projects that are saving mothers and children:
- The Rotary Club of Navotas in the Philippines organized an informational session on the psychological benefits of breast feeding for mothers and babies. The session was led by healthcare staff with the support of Rotarians, spouses and Rotaractors. 30 women from the local community who had either recently had a baby or were pregnant attended the session, and were all given a breast pump and additional gifts to adjust to life as new mothers.
- Many girls from low income families in Bangladesh cannot afford sanitary products during their menstrual cycle. Oftentimes, girls and women resort to using dry leaves, which are very unhygienic. In many cases, girls also miss school while menstruating, which halts their education. The Rotary Club of Bhairab Khulna, in collaboration with three other Rotary clubs, organized a project to help raise awareness of using sanitary pads for girls at the local school. The clubs organized an open discussion with the girls where a doctor shared personal hygiene suggestions. After the seminar, the clubs established a “Pad Corner” in the school. Through this pad corner, the girls had access to sanitary napkins right at school.
- The Rotary Club of Butwal-Downtown worked with theRotaract Club of Butwal Ramapithecus and the Siddartha Children and Woman Hospital in Nepal to organize a free mega health camp in their community. 471 children and women benefitted from the services provided including family planning, ultrasounds, x-rays, and overall health screenings.
Add your club’s maternal and child health project to Rotary Ideas to find support or post your completed projects on Rotary Showcase. Join the conversation in the Maternal and Child Health discussion group!