R. I. President Message

RI President 2018-19 Barry Rassin - April 2019

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

Every two minutes, somewhere in the world, a woman dies from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. And babies whose mothers die within the first six weeks of their lives are far more likely to die themselves than babies whose mothers survive. As I've traveled around the world as president of Rotary, I've met families for whom these aren't simply tragic statistics. But I've also met people who are devoting themselves to helping mothers and children — and because of them, I'm hopeful. And because many of those people are Rotarians, I'm also proud. April is Maternal and Child Health Month in Rotary, so it's a perfect time to tell you about some things Rotarians are doing that will make you proud too.

Last fall, I paid a visit to a hospital in the town of Jekabpils, in Latvia. It's a modern hospital, and the doctors and nurses there are caring, dedicated, and skilled. But despite all their hard work, the maternal mortality rate at the hospital had remained stubbornly high, due to a factor that was beyond their control: a lack of vital diagnostic equipment and even basic items like incubators.

And that's where Rotary came in. Twenty-one clubs from around the world joined forces for a global grant that provided what the hospital required. And in September, when I walked into the maternity ward there, I saw state-of-the-art equipment, and I met patients who were getting the care that they needed — and that every mother and child in the world deserves to have.

In Brazil, club members worked with fellow Rotarians in Japan on a global grant project that dramatically increased the capacity of an overstretched neonatal intensive care unit. New incubators, monitors, and other equipment have enabled the local hospital to save many more babies' lives each year.

And in Mongolia, a vocational training team from New Zealand organized instruction in emergency response techniques for doctors and midwives, set up a program that taught midwives modern best practices, and researched and wrote a culturally relevant childbirth education manual. Between 2013, when the team first went to Mongolia, and 2017, the neonatal mortality rate in the country fell from 11.2 to 9.1 per 1,000 births, and the maternal mortality rate has decreased as well.

That's what I mean when I talk about transformational service, and it's what Rotarians do best. Because of our networks, which span the globe; our community presence, which allows us to see what's most needed; and our expertise, which encompasses countless skills and professions, we're able to serve in a manner that has no equal. And we're able to Be the Inspiration as we help those who need us most.

Barry Rassin
President 2018-19


Trustee Chair's Message - Apr. 2019

Ron D. Burton, Trustee Chair 2018-19

Trustee chair's message

As we begin the last quarter of the Rotary year, our thoughts turn to ensuring a strong finish. I hope that your goal has been to make your club stronger than it was at the beginning of the year. All clubs depend on members to do their part so the club doesn't just survive, but thrive.

But for that to happen, each member must contribute to that success every day of the year. It is important that we identify potential new members and sponsor them, that we reach out to former members and invite them back. Above all, whether they are new members or returning members, we must mentor and engage them to make them strong members of our club. We must roll up our sleeves and work on club projects, district projects, and global projects, because nothing creates fellowship more than working together with other members of your club.

We must also support The Rotary Foundation. Doing good in the world doesn't just happen. In addition to having the people to carry out projects, we must also have the funds to make them viable. That's where each of us comes in. We, our partners, and our beneficiaries are the sources for those funds. I hope each member will make our Foundation a charity of choice so we can continue to change lives and improve the world. For the cost of just two "crafted" lattes a month, one can become a $100-per-year contributor to the Foundation. That is a small amount to pay for all the good our Foundation does.

And giving to our Foundation has never been easier. You can make your contribution securely and conveniently anytime at rotary.org/donate. I plan to go online this month and make another contribution. I challenge each of you to do the same.

Ron D. Burton
Trustee Chair 2018-19

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