April-May 2023 | Regulars

Nicki Scott – Rotary International Director’s Column

Nicki Scott – Rotary International Director’s Column

Nicki Scott discusses how her recent eye-opening trip to Pakistan reaffirmed her belief that polio will soon be eradicated.

In December 2022, I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Pakistan. I saw today’s frontline efforts in our fight to End Polio in one of the two last endemic countries in the world, Afghanistan being the other.

I went from wanting to believe we will finally eradicate polio to coming away knowing, without doubt, that together we will! I learned how technology has enhanced our efforts significantly. Improvements include:

  • A huge screen showing the real-time location of every polio vaccination team at the National Emergency Operations Centre in Islamabad.
  • Every inhabited building is identified in advance and the dates and numbers of vaccines administered are recorded.
  • Detailed record keeping and analysis in Karachi covers the remote villages.
  • At the Permanent Transport Points on the main highway all buses are stopped for the polio teams to run onboard, find the children under 5, administer two drops of lifesaving polio vaccine and record where they live.

The devastating impact of the summer 2022 catastrophic floods was still very evident. I saw many families living on mud banks between flooded plains with little to no shelter facing cold and dark winter nights, their homes, livestock and crops washed away.

Local Rotarians were working hard to help meet their basic needs including food, livestock and clean water to drink, but the situation was overwhelming.

Will you and your club consider how you can contribute to leaving such a phenomenal legacy for future generations of children everywhere?”

After such severe floods, the devastation doesn’t end when the contaminated water subsides. The force of the flood waters washes the fertile topsoil away leaving a barren land where nothing will grow.

It was so clear to me, that our Rotary network must do all we can to help rebuild villages and communities in Pakistan and help meet basic needs including child immunisations and access to healthcare. These are all intrinsically linked to ensuring our work to end polio is not impacted, or worse still, set back.

Director Faiz Kidwai, the first Rotary International Director from Pakistan, is committed to this vision working with a team of experts to design independent, long term sustainable smart villages combining ancient tribal wisdom with modern day technology and techniques.

Considerable funding is needed from local corporate donors and non-profit agencies as well as Rotary Global Grants.

Director Faiz also overseas Rotary efforts in Afghanistan. His extremely valuable and deep understanding of local cultures and physical environments there and in Pakistan will help ensure we achieve our top humanitarian goal as expeditiously as possible.

Will you and your club consider how you can contribute to leaving such a phenomenal legacy for future generations of children everywhere?

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