World Health Day: Because Healthcare Should Be Everywhere

By Sneha Saloni, Rotary Action Group for Family Health and AIDS Prevention’s Social Media and Communications Manager

Rotary members and volunteers celebrate the launch of Rotary Family Health Days in Mozambique on International Day of People With Disabilities (3 December, 2022)

Millions of people around the world still struggle to access basic healthcare. There are thousands of vulnerable communities that are forced to choose between healthcare and other expenses like food or housing. The Rotary Action Group for Family Health & AIDS Prevention (RFHA) is working to bridge this gap through its signature program, Rotary Family Health Days (RFHD). This program, now in its 12th year, delivers free preventive community healthcare services at hundreds of sites across Africa and India in partnership with local clubs and health systems. Apart from providing free health screenings, lifesaving immunizations, education on disease prevention and treatment, and crucially, referrals for follow-on essential care, RFHA also aims to eradicate the spread of deadly diseases. Last year alone, RFHA delivered an estimated 665,000 health services to approximately 250,000 people on the African continent. “With an exciting new partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we will be rolling out RFHDs in 10 new countries in Africa in a 2-year pilot program. We have already kicked off the program in Mozambique and Malawi as part of this partnership. And Nigeria, which has run health days for the past 12 years successfully, will now run four RFHDs per year through the Gates funding. This opportunity will help us fight communicable and non-communicable diseases on a larger scale for long-term sustainable health,” said Sue Paget, RFHA Inc CEO. Let’s look at some of the highlights from recently held Rotary Family Health Days:

RFHD in Nigeria: Focus on Polio and Women’s Health

Three programs were held in 2022-23. The first program, which was held in June 2022, was funded by a Rotary Foundation Global Grant. The next two programs, which occurred in October 2022 and February 2023, were held as part of the Gates partnership funding. “Immunization of children against polio as well as malaria screening and treatment, HIV testing and counselling, Hepatitis B & C, diabetes and glucose level screening among others, were some of the key services offered to the Nigerians,” said Bola Oyebade, RFHD Program Coordinator, Nigeria. A key focus of the program includes teaching young girls the importance of menstrual health. A group of Rotary members and volunteers visited a Government Model Secondary School in Asaba and interacted with the female students on the topic. One of the key foci of our new partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the delivery of an integrated health program and alignment on our Gender Intentional mission, which means addressing gender inequalities, including health interventions that counter unequal gender norms. The fourth edition of the program will be held in the coming months. The chair of Rotary International’s polio-eradication program in Nigeria, Dr. Tunji Funsho, said, “I have been involved with the Rotary Family Health Days in terms of providing support for vaccinations in creating awareness, which leads to creating demand. So that even long after Rotary Family Health Days have come and gone, people will remember that they need to take their child to their nearest health centre and get them immunized, not just for polio, but other vaccine-preventable diseases as well. This is a very good platform, not just to render health services, but also to create awareness, for caregivers, parents, and families.”

RFHD in Mozambique: Celebrating World Disability Day

Launched on 3 December, International Day of People with Disabilities, the first-ever RFHD in Mozambique was a beautiful example of healthcare inclusivity. “It was heart-warming to see so many people with disabilities come together and celebrate life. They need more care, and they need to be included in the healthcare system. We launched the program in Mozambique and the two-day program reached hundreds of participants from different communities,” shared Gisela Bettencourt, Country Coordinator, Mozambique. Quality healthcare is a critical concern for people with disabilities. While they may need specialized care directly related to specific impairments, they also require the same routine general healthcare services as the wider population. And RFHA strives to strengthen this health system inclusivity by providing access to care. Rotary Family Health Days also celebrated a successful launch in Malawi. More health days are coming up in countries like Zambia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, DRC, Ghana, Uganda, Eswatini, and more. We are on track to support over 500,000 people with critical care this Rotary year alone. The global pandemic has set us back in time. The progress made in TB and HIV/AIDS prevention has been marred and the world is seeing a rise in virus and disease transmission, like cholera. RFHA is needed now more than ever. Our program bridges the gap in access to critical medical services and the health prevention we provide is vital for the survival and well-being of millions of people.

Feeling inspired to be a part of this change? Get in touch today by visiting The RFHA website or connect with Sue Paget, CEO of Rotary Action Group for Family & AIDS Prevention Inc at

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