By Bon Peters
The Rotary Club of Port Harcourt ECO has celebrated her three years anniversary with pomp and pageantry.
The event which featured, scholarship award to four indigent students in the universities and health interventions in Umuoye Etche, in Etche Local Government Area and Elelenwo, in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area all in Rivers State, attracted commendations from both the awardees and over 200 participants who trudged the Umuoye Health centre and that of Elelenwo for the event.
Speaking earlier, to throw light on the establishment of Rotary club of Port Harcourt ECO three years ago, the Chartered President of Rotary Port Harcourt ECO, Rtn (Dr) Emem Okon said that Rotary Port Harcourt ECO was established based on the conviction of some people who shared the same ideology of having a friendly and a sustainable environment especially in the Niger Delta Region.
Okon, stated that the club commenced operation in October 2020 and Chartered February 11,2021. She noted that the Rotary club of Port Harcourt ECO was the 2nd ECO club in Africa and the first in west Africa. Adding that the environmental advocacy carried out by Rotary club of Port Harcourt ECO helped to reduce the soot menace in Rivers and she further added it also helped to reduce the impact and activities of the artisanary refining of petroleum products.
Continuing, she said “though the issue was not completely eliminated but we know that Rotary made an impact with our advocacy conference”
Speaking further, she said the club has embarked on tree planting of over 500 mangrove trees and the recent one around Eastern Bypass in Rivers state, insisting that Rotary Port Harcourt ECO has achieved much in such a very short time even as it attended the major donor Level 2 status, noting that with time the club would become stronger.
Speaking on the topic “This is Rotary”, a lecture which was part of the anniversary programme presented by the guest speaker who was also the Past District Governor (PDG) Rtn (Dr) Nze Anizor, highlighted what Rotary is all about saying that Rotary was originally established in 1905 as a business networking forum.
Anizor, added that two years down the line, those friends felt the need to construct a public toilet. And in 1979, Rotary went global, fighting to eradicate polio by joining forces with the Filipines in 1985.
He said in 1988, the World Health Organization (WHO) joined and in no distant time, polio would be completely eradicated due to a private organization making it the third disease to be eradicated from the world like the smallpox and rinderpest.
Anizor went further to posit that Rotary was founded for business networking, humanitarian service, integrity, exposure, education among others.
He maintained that “whichever way you look at it, Rotary is a serious organization doing incredible projects for people. Changing people’s lives and creating sustainable changes”. He further added that “Rotary means so many things but Rotary is known for the services it renders. Hence we are called “People of Action” Anizor emphasized.
He praised the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt ECO for her numerous achievements in three years, saying most Rotary clubs died within three years of its existence but Rotary Club of Port Harcourt ECO was a different one.
The President, Rotary club of Port Harcourt ECO, Rtn (Dr) Anthony Ikpor says the main objective of their health intervention was to help those in the rural areas have access to primary/ basic health care service where resources are scarce and basic infrastructures dilapidated.
Speaking on the objectives, Ikpor said the primary objective of the intervention was to provide essential healthcare services to underserved populations across rural and urban communities (Umuoye and Elelenwo), with the aim of providing health education for community members about preventive healthcare, key household practices and reproductive health.
According to him, others include distribution of medical supplies to the health facilities to help alleviate immediate primary health concerns, assessment of the status of the health facilities to enable the club frame real time advocacy pieces to the government for the refurbishment of health facilities, engagement with community leaders (chiefs) on ownership of and community-level co-management of the health facilities for optimal protection of health facilities and equipment.
On the outcome of the intervention, Ikpor stated that it yielded several positive outcomes and left a lasting impact on the communities and provided relevant health information capable of accelerating access to primary healthcare services for hundreds of community members who otherwise faced barriers to essential health care. Noting that “a group-styled health information/sensitization on different topics (family planning, prostate cancer awareness, gerontology, antenatal care, arthritis, hygiene, nutrition and general health information was deployed. The health education sessions empowered community members with knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about their health and well-being with potential to lead to behavior change and disease prevention. These sessions allowed the community members the opportunity to ask broader consultation-styled questions to the consultant and doctors who provided personalized responses and prognosis to those who posed the questions. Health supplies such as ferrous sulphate tablets, folic acid, malaria prophylaxis, proguanil, insecticide treated mosquito nets, male condom, longer-term acting family planning methods (Copper T380A, Jadelle & Implanon), multivitamins, and albendazole were donated to the health facilities for equitable use to individuals who needs them. By engaging local stakeholders and building capacity within the community, the health intervention laid the groundwork for participatory community-level healthcare service delivery and continued partnership between the Rotary club of Port Harcourt ECO and the communities.”
Ikpor however recommended a continued engagement with government, stakeholders, active involvement of community leaders and partners whom he said were crucial for the sustainability and success of healthcare interventions. He also opined that more attention should be paid on preventative basic healthcare measures through regular community health interventions – immunizations, and health education which according to him can significantly reduce the burden of disease in underserved communities even as he promised that “we will continue to lend our hands to improving the overall health and well-being of the communities we serve. The challenges encountered during the intervention re-emphasized the importance of sustainable investment in primary healthcare. Moving forward, we call on the Rivers state government through the Ministry of Health and the Primary Healthcare Management Board to renovate and equip the Umuoye health centre to at least the bare minimum as an initial first step to ensuring better primary healthcare delivery in the community” Ikpor said.
Speaking to our correspondent, both the beneficiaries of the scholarship and the health intervention expressed happiness for the Rotary club of Port Harcourt ECO insisting that what they have done for them would go a long way in touching their lives in a positive way.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of Cheques to the awardees and the distribution of routine drugs, treated mosquitoe nets, reproductive health supplies to Health Centres.
Present at the occasion were members of the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt ECO Health intervention committee, Dr Okpani Okocha, Dr Jenny Amadi, Dr Okpani Ezinne, Dr Daniel West, Ms Sele May and Dr Briggs Ebieye among others and some chiefs such, the acting paramount ruler of Umuoye, chief Dominic Nkworji, chief Vitalis Anaele, chief Emmanuel Ekeh, chief Basil Agu and chief Dominic Nwocha.