If Rotarians lit up yellow on a map wherever they traveled, Yorkshire would have been a lot sunnier mid-April.
Despite the rain and the general drear, hundreds of members of their vast network gathered for three days at the Harrogate International Centre for the 88th Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland Annual Conference.
Our oximeter sits quite close to Rotary, at least on the Pantone spectrum, and so we set out to join them!
In between the business meetings and the voting and the Young Citizen Awards, Rotarians made purposeful turns around the exhibition hall, packed with so many good organizations (and good whiskies) that it was hard not to feel dispirited and elated at the same time – so much imbalance, and so many people working to redress it.
So we’re delighted that Rotary clubs around the world are starting to get involved with Lifebox, helping ups to count down and close the 77,000-strong global pulse oximetry gap.
Over the last year they have nominated to direct oximeters to particular countries – like members of the Portishead Rotary Club who donated oximeters and spare probes to Kivunge Hospital hospital in Zanzibar, to complement the support a neighbouring club gives to Makunduchi Hospital, nearby on the island.
Others have elected to meet the need on our growing waiting list – like the Ilkley Wharfdale Rotary Club, whose members hosted an Indian Evening to raise funds for pulse oximeters.
Clubs in target countries have supported their own colleagues – like the Dili Rotary Club in East Timor, which funded 16 oximeters and double the number of spare probes for the St John of God Hospital neonatal unit.
Clubs have even clubbed together, cross-continent, to support entire countries – as with the ‘Benin Saturation 100%’ projects developing between Rotarians in Benin and Belgium.
In short – or long, and hopefully longer – Rotary Clubs around the world are making surgery safer!
Every oximeter that we send safeguards thousands of patients a year. Because the equipment is specially designed for low-resource settings, they’ll last a long time – and because training and follow-up is such an essential part of what we do, we’ll be around to make sure of it.
We had such a good time at the conference, meeting Rotarians from all over the country, taking their oxygen saturation levels and hearing more about the various projects they’re involved with – and we hope they had fun meeting us too.
The sun didn’t come out, but the days did seem a little brighter.