‘There are certain things that govt cannot do, but Rotarians do’ says president of Rotary International
On his first visit to Chandigarh, Rassin addressed over 2,500 schoolchildren and also chaired the “Lead to Inspire” summit at Chandigarh Judicial Academy, where around 500 Rotarians had assembled.Updated: Sep 30, 2018 11:38 IST
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
With Rotary Chandigarh all set to celebrate its 60th anniversary in Chandigarh tricity, Barry Rassin, the president of Rotary International, was in town to take part in the celebrations. Rassin, a hospital administration specialist from the Bahamas and a lifetime member of the American Hospital Association, took over as the president of the Rotary on July 1. This year, he was recognised as an officer of the order of distinction by Bahamas government.
On his first visit to Chandigarh, Rassin addressed over 2,500 schoolchildren and also chaired the “Lead to Inspire” summit at Chandigarh Judicial Academy, where around 500 Rotarians had assembled.
How do you plan to involve 1.2 million Rotarians into health services?
Health is our major focus. We work for maternal-child health and disease prevention. So far, in partnership with the World Health Organisation, we have almost eradicated polio. There are only 18 cases left in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rotary International has spent over USD 1.8 billion for the eradication of polio in the world, including India.
What steps were taken by Rotary International to eradicate Polio in India?
In 1988, the World Health Assembly took a decision to eradicate polio. However, the Government of India was not part of the strategy back then. Rotary International launched the campaign in 1992. But then we realised that till we take the government on board, we cannot eradicate polio. Initially, even polio vaccines were supplied by Rotary International, however, after the government got into the driver’s seat, it became a national programme. GOI took the financial roles and we were responsible for awareness. On March 27, 2014, Rotary International got a certificate of polio eradication after years of regular immunisation. However, the goal hasn’t been achieved internationally yet.
What are your opinions about the Indian health industry?
I am really impressed by the health sector in India. It’s affordable and doctors are committed and well-trained.
What are the dynamics of finance of Rotary International?
Most of our funds are generated through crowdfunding. We have generated more than 400 million dollars so far. In fact, India is second only to the USA in their contribution to The Rotary Foundation, which funds the service projects around the world.
Do you face trouble in coordinating with governments around the globe?
I try to avoid politics as much as I can. There are certain things that the government cannot do, but Rotarians can do. For instance, Aziz Mahmood, a Rotarian in Pakistan, persuaded Taliban to get their children vaccinated. Our work and government’s work is distinct.
First Published: Sep 30, 2018 11:38 IST