Posted by DG Alex Nyaga on Apr 01, 2022
Happy New Month Family Of Rotary!
April is Rotary’s Maternal And Child Health month.  A time when we reflect on the mothers who risk their lives giving birth every day in our communities, and the children who die each year from treatable, preventable causes.
An estimated 5.9 million children under the age of five die each year because of malnutrition, inadequate health care, and poor sanitation — all of which can be prevented. That’s why we as Rotarians expand access to quality care, so mothers and children everywhere can live longer, grow stronger and have the same opportunities for a healthy future.
One of the ways we are doing this in our district is through ensuring that the birth process is safe for both mother and baby. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest neonatal mortality rate in the world with 27 deaths per 1000 live births.  Our clubs are working to reduce this rate by bringing facilities closer, equipping maternity wards and facilitating the safety and comfort of the birth delivery process for expectant mothers.
For many mothers, bringing forth life can be an unnecessarily traumatizing experience; Take the example of the story of Mama Amani* , a first time mother and local resident of Kagunduini village, Muranga county in Kenya. When she went into labour with her first child four years ago, her family rushed her to Kagunduini dispensary, the nearest medical facility to her home.  On arrival, she quickly discovered that the clinic did not have an operational maternity wing and hence could not offer her maternity services. 
She was already in advanced state of labour, so it was too late to make it to the referral hospital in Thika town over 20km away.   The medical staff did the best under the circumstances, and her healthy baby was born just outside the vehicle she had arrived in, before being transported to the referral hospital. Unfortunately, not all stories have a happy ending like hers. Just a few weeks earlier, an expectant mother carrying twins from the same area, and under similar circumstances had lost her life before she could make it to the referral hospital.  The babies sadly did not make it either.
Things are now very different at the dispensary, thanks to the action of the Rotary Club of Thika, in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Kahiwa Minami, in Japan.  After learning of and witnessing firsthand the hardship that new mothers and their babies in the community have to endure, the club quickly took action.  They embarked on finishing the construction of the maternity wing, and furnished it with necessary equipment including delivery beds, baby cots, an incinerator and other medical equipment.  The nine-bed Kagunduini Health Centre maternity wing was launched late last year and is now saving lives by offering maternity services to the locals.
I commend the actions of our clubs in playing their part in providing mechanisms for safe delivery for mothers.  In Western Kenya, The Rotary Club of Siaya similarly renovated the Sega Health facility maternity wing in Siaya County to serve the mothers in Ugenya constituency.  Both these clubs were able to leverage on the power of partnerships by collaborating with Rotary clubs in other districts as well as the local government to increase impact.
Secondly, Rotary provides immunizations and education to mothers. Women are taught how to prevent mother-to-infant HIV transmission, how to breast-feed, and how to protect themselves and their children from disease.  As you are all aware, one of the most significant ways we do this is through our quest to end polio through child immunizations.  Recently, a new case was of wild poliovirus type  1 was found in Malawi, signaling that it is not yet time to relent in our efforts to fight this disease. 
A good way to participate is to increase our giving to the Rotary Foundation through the Polio fund.  So far our district has given $27,108.28 this Rotary year to the polio fund and I believe we can still do more.  Please help secure a child’s future by continuing to donate your resources through means such as your clubs’ happy dollar contributions.
Thirdly, our Rotary programs improve women’s access to skilled health personnel: doctors, nurses, midwives, or community health care workers.  One Rotaract club in Ethiopia has taken steps to roll out an education program aimed at midwives and expectant mothers. The Rotaract Club of Fanos in collaboration with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and other NGOs, recently launched a guidebook on maternal and neonatal health for distribution in Addis Ababa and Gonder.  The manual will provide critical information and will be translated to several local languages.
As we continue with implementing our community service within society, we are also cognizant that we are now in the period of leadership transition process in our clubs.  As we prepare to handover to incoming officials, my call to all members is to acquaint yourselves with, and implement governance and ethics structures in your clubs. Ensure you attend trainings when made available and incorporate the district guidelines in your day-to-day practices.  Club members should know the status of their clubs; from the status of financial assets, dues, projects and management of funds.
As April begins, we are also in high gear in our preparations for our upcoming District Conference (DISCON) in Diani next month.  There are several reasons not to miss this event:
  • It will be the first in-person DISCON in 3years! The last physical DISCON was held at the Pride Inn Mombasa, Kenya in 2019.Since then we have about 1,000 new members join our district that have not had the chance to physically attend one before.Don’t miss out on this great chance to hang out with Rotarians from all over the district and beyond.
  • One of the perks of Rotary is to Connect with others beyond our clubs.When Rotary founder Paul Harris held the first Rotary meeting with four business associates in Chicago in 1905, it was in search of fellowship and camaraderie among friends. Rotary happens when you meet other Rotarians to socialize, network, build business connections, and interact with business leaders and captains of industry.
  • This is an opportunity to rejuvenate in a relaxed environment.Diani is one of Kenya’s leading tourist destinations and has a wide array of accommodation facilities to cater to all travel budgets, from the economy visitor to the top of the range where you will be able to rest after your days out at the Conference or on excursions. You are welcome to bring your families and friends, as there are lots to do for all ages and interests.
  • As People of Action, you have been hard at work in your communities spreading the love through service.Let us get together and celebrate your achievements. We will also have the presentation of the District Awards during the DISCON; don’t miss out, your club could be one of the ones honoured.
  • The 3-day program has been set to have the best of both worlds; The program content will be sufficient to keep you glued to the sessions in the morning, and light enough to allow you time in the afternoons to explore Diani. We do hope you will take some time during your stay to walk barefoot on the beach, play a light game of beach volleyball or soccer, have dinner in a cave, enjoy the water sports or take a trip to enjoy deep-sea diving, sailing, or snorkeling.
  • For art lovers, Diani is home to some authentic African art, which has been influenced over the years by the cultural interaction between the locals and Arabs and you can find a nice affordable souvenir to take home with you to remember your time at the DCA 2021/2022.
  • I’ll be hosting you all to a colourful and engaging cocktail on the first night of the conference in honour of first time attendees. Attend and network and build connections with other Rotarians.
  • On the last night we will have a spectacular One Love Concert to mark the end of the conference. This concert will bring together great local artists for an evening to remember.
  • Negotiated Accommodation rates:Find discounted accommodation rates with Neptune Beach Resort where the DISCON will be held, as well as other options here:
I look forward to seeing you all there.
In conclusion, this month of April is also a special one, as Christians will be celebrating the Easter holiday while Muslims will be entering the Ramadan period. As always, use this opportunity to reflect on the reason for the season and continue having the attitude of gratitude in every aspect of your life. I wish you all a Blessed holiday.
One Love,
Alex Nyaga,
District Governor 2021/22
District Programs Chair: PP Dr. Janet Macharia
District Rotary Foundation Chair: PDG Peter Mbui +254733646929
District Stewardship Chair: Protus Lumiti +254722705556
Governance and Ethics Chair: Dr. Joe Kamau +254722207203
District Conference: DCA Chair Antoinette Absaloms +254 721602570
District Public Image Chair: Henry Ndirangu +254722574500
Timeline Stories: District Communication Officer Caroline Njiru +254 722650978
Club Runner: Innovation Officer Sam Mwangi +254 722 286505
DISCON Registration
DISCON Accommodation:
DISCON Flights:
  • Kenya Airways
  • Jambo Jet
  • Safarilink