April is Maternal and Child Health Month for Rotary which is another one of our Areas of Focus. Related to this area of focus, Gender Equality is one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. This theme was highlighted on International Women’s Day last month. The cause is one that has been a societal issue that harkens back to a time when women weren’t recognized as persons and were not allowed to vote. The women’s rights movement continues to address equality, reproductive rights and violence against women.  Although we have witnessed variable shifts in culture and advances in education, access to health care and employment, there is still a lot of work to be done. Maternal and child health is a cause that is mixed in with several of Rotary’s other areas of focus.
One measurable index of the quality of health care in a country is infant mortality. This metric is influenced by the access to pre-natal health care and to trained professionals at the time of delivery and the existence of the early detection of medical problems at birth and the first years of life. The statistic that most accurately portrays this basic health care is the infant mortality rate which is the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Another measure of importance is the number of deaths of children under 5 per 1000 live births. Worldwide the infant death rate is 28 per 1000 live births and the rate for child mortality under 5 years of age is 39 per 1000 live births. To give some context here, the 3 countries with the lowest infant mortality rates are Singapore 2.3, Bermuda 2.4 and Sweden at 2.7. At the other end of the scale for highest infant mortality rates are Angola 180, Sierra Leone 154 and Afghanistan at 152 deaths per 1000 live births. Canada’s rate is 5.0. 15,000 children die every day worldwide and the top 3 causes are pneumonia, preterm and neonatal deaths and diarrheal disease. A hopeful trend is that the child mortality numbers are the lowest they have ever been. Rotary’s efforts in this regard are substantial.
A few items of note at the District level include the plans for the Great Lakes Watershed Clean Up on April 24 led by the District Environment Committee co-chaired by Michael Pavan and James Weber. See more details below in this Newsletter. Also please consider signing up for the Enviro Pledge and indicate how many of the 12 priorities you will strive to achieve. I have printed and signed my pledge. Please check the website for details on the other activities for April: Rotary Milton Youth Summit April 10, Club Leadership Training from April 10th to 17th.
District Assembly April 15.
We are just finishing our third quarter and have 3 months to the end of the Rotary year. It was my goal to send out at least one message this year that doesn’t use the “P” or “C” word. I continue to be proud of all District Rotarians for their energy, innovation and resilience. It has been a pleasure to attend so many meetings where new members are being inducted and to note that our overall District membership has increased this Rotary year and we are up 15 members from July 1. Please sign up for the District Conference on May 29- focus on the Environment. It will be a virtual event. June 23 will be our Change Over and Awards Meeting. You may register easily through our website for these events.
Signing off and reminding you to take care of yourself, each other and the planet.
DG Mike