This week’s guest speaker was Christine Hurley, of the Rotary Club of Wellington.
Christine is on the steering committee of the Australasian Rotary Centennial Project, which is just completing the first of its three years.
In partnership with UNICEF, the project will immunise 100,000 children across nine Pacific countries, targeting cervical cancer, diarrhoea, pneumonia, and blood infections. Infant mortality and cervical cancer are rife in these countries, and medical response is often slow.
The project is going well, with local contributions and global grants from Rotary International totalling $2.17M in year 1, spread across the nine Pacific nations. Eighteen more grant applications are being prepared for years 2 and 3.
The funds are used to purchase vaccines (through UNICEF), to provide cold chain and other equipment, for education and training, and technical support. Many of the target communities are in remote locations, and the local health worker is instrumental in delivering the immunisation.
After the project concludes, it is expected that the nine governments will continue with widespread immunisation of their peoples, under their own steam.
Christine explained that all clubs and districts in New Zealand are encouraged to support the project. A child’s life can be protected for $45, and money is being raised through direct donations and the sale of E-cards.