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May 2017
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Invited Speakers
Sign Dedication Ceremony
Jun 05, 2017
TBD
SSU Sociology Club/Professor Sean Dunne
Jun 12, 2017
Baby Box Project
TBA
Jun 19, 2017
TBA
 
Leadership
President
President Elect
Secretary
Treasurer
Immediate Past President
Sgt at Arms
Board
Board
Board
Board
Board
 
Club News
Dear Rotarians,
 
This year is flying by and soon enough it will be over.  At the start, I was excited for the challenges to come and with your constant encouragement and support, we have proved that we can work through them together. 
For the first time, we have begun an ongoing program to support the Rotary International Foundation through our Happy Dollars.   This means that we are directly eliminating Polio from the world and making sure that every person is free from the threat of this disease.
Additionally, I’ve had the opportunity of observing a shift in our club.  Rotarians are fellowshipping more with another both in and outside of the club.  I’ve seen Rotarians hosting events and had the opportunity to see other Rotarians there.  One such example was during the Rotary-hosted “Business After Hours” with Trinity Business Group. During club meetings, individuals that would normally stay in one seat will frequently switch seats and socialize more.  It is wonderful to see these relationships develop.  Strong relationships mean we will be a strong club.
All of the credit for the successes of this year, belong to the Rotary Board members, our hardworking President-Elect, the phenomenal club chairs, and the amazing Rotarians that carry this club and this community on their shoulders.
We’ve still got 4 months to go before we have our President-Elect Reece Brown take the lead as President and Jonathan James steps in the role of President-elect.  In those short months, there is still much to do.  A financial review needs to take place to make sure our documents are all in order for his year, Rose Sales, and an exciting Dancing with our Stars event for our members is all on the horizon.   The next four months will be busy as ever and I know that with your continued hard work and support, we can get these tasks done and be ready for a brand new Rotary year. 
 
Best Regards, 
 
Lydia Smith

STAYING THE COURSE ON THE LONG ROAD

Afghanistan’s determined effort to end polio

Afghanistan’s long struggle to eradicate polio is showing strong signs that the country is closer than it has ever been to finally stopping the disease, once and for all.

The year 2016 ended with only 13 cases, down from 20 in 2015 and 28 in 2014. Notably, 99% of all districts ended the year polio-free, with transmission cornered in small geographical areas in the south, east and south-east of the country.

While Afghanistan this week will announce its first case of wild poliovirus for 2017 – an 11-month-old girl in Kandahar District of Kandahar Province – the country has made substantial gains that make eradication in the short term a realistic goal. Monthly campaigns will be held through the end of May during the traditional ‘low season’ for polio transmission, which provides the best opportunity to stop transmission country-wide.

Every last child vaccinated

There is reason to be cautiously confident about 2017.  Last year saw notable improvements in the quality of immunization campaigns across the country – particularly in high-risk areas – with significantly more children being reached and protected than ever before. The proportion of areas achieving required coverage standards in post-campaign Lot Quality Assessment Surveys has increased over the 12 months to December 2016 from 68% to 93%. Concurrently, the quality of campaign monitoring has improved with new approaches including remote monitoring through mobile phone technology and independent third-party monitoring.

Strategic district-specific plans for 2016-2017 are focused on 47 high-risk districts responsible for 84% of polio cases in the past 7 years. An intensified community engagement communication network has been established in these districts to ensure parents and caregivers are aware of the benefits of the polio vaccine and vaccinate their children during campaigns.

A National Islamic Advisory Group for Polio Eradication has been established in 2016 and Afghan religious scholars, the Ulama, issued a Declaration calling on all Afghans to vaccinate their children. Religious leaders are now strongly involved in supporting polio eradication efforts.

A strategy to revisit homes where children were missed was introduced in 2016. By the end of the year, in areas where the Immunization Communication Network  was present, teams of mobilizers were successful in vaccinating 75% of missed children in very high-risk districts.

A single block

Afghanistan and Pakistan form one epidemiological block – reaching children on the move is another priority. Coordination and joint planning between the two countries is strong. Currently, 294 Permanent Transit Teams  vaccinate children who travel in and out of security-compromised areas, special campaigns target nomadic populations and 49 cross-border teams at 18 cross-border vaccination points vaccinate children when they cross into or from Pakistan and Iran. In 2016, these border teams vaccinated over 122,000 returnee children with oral polio vaccine and over 32,000 with the injectable inactivated polio vaccine.

Surveillance is king

Underpinning all eradication efforts is a surveillance system which is able to pinpoint any virus. An external surveillance review concluded in 2016 that Afghanistan’s disease surveillance surpassed global standards and circulation of the virus is unlikely to be missed. In the past 12 months, an additional 458 disease surveillance reporting sites have been introduced and the number of reporting volunteers has increased by 18% to 21,000. Three additional environmental sewage surveillance sites have been added, in Kandahar, Nangarhar and Khost, and sampling frequency has been doubled in the south.

The road ahead: neutrality

Significant challenges remain: routine immunization coverage remains weak in many areas and insecurity and active fighting has hampered vaccination teams’ access. In this complex and challenging environment, the programme continues to maintain its neutrality. Maintaining dialogue with communities remains essential.

Now more than ever, Afghanistan has all the systems in place and tools it needs to achieve eradication: high-quality immunization campaigns, strong monitoring and supervision of vaccinators, vigorous communications platforms,  a strong community engagement strategy creating an enabling environment for vaccination campaigns, national and regional Emergency Operations Centres to oversee and manage the programme, a supportive civil society, religious leadership and media and – most importantly – a committed network of local health workers who are trusted and supported by their communities.

In the coming months, Afghanistan has a unique opportunity to take the world over the finishing line for polio eradication.  If all elements of the polio programme are accountable for reaching and immunizing every child in high-quality monthly polio vaccination campaigns, eradication is possible.

Rotary International Board adopts new zone structure

At its January 2017 meeting, the Rotary International Board of Directors adopted a new zone structure for Rotary clubs.

Rotary bylaws require the Board to complete a comprehensive review of the 34 Rotary zones no less often than every eight years to ensure that each zone has an approximately equal number of Rotarians. The Board’s previous review of the zones occurred in 2008.

The Board earlier approved the creation of three regional workgroups to develop rezoning proposals for Asia, Europe/Africa, and the Americas. These workgroups comprised one representative (either a current director, incoming director, or immediate past director) from each zone in the region. The regional workgroups submitted their proposals to the Zones Review Committee, chaired by past Rotary Vice President Michael K. McGovern, which consolidated them into a single, worldwide plan for the Board’s consideration. 

“I think the regional workgroups did a great job,” says Rotary President John F. Germ. “Rezoning is always an emotional subject for some Rotarians, but the workgroups and Board acted courageously in an effort to be fair to all concerned.”

The Board will consider other zone-related issues such as sectioning, pairing, and director election rotation at its June 2017 meeting. 

 
 
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