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The following article is a reprint of an article on the Health Partners International Canada (HPIC) website.  The Rotary Club of Dartmouth's association with HPIC goes back a long way and Rotarian Robert Earle has been the driving force for our club to assist HPIC in helping vulnerable communities in many countries. 

Providing humanitarian service and advancing goodwill and peace around the world has been the mission of pharmacist, Robert Earle since 1988 when he first became a member of the Rotary Club of Dartmouth

Earle has been bringing donated medicine overseas since 2002. His first trip was to Niger where he brought two Humanitarian Medical Kits from Health Partner International of Canada (HPIC) to a clinic in Toure.

“It was a tremendous experience. All the people of the village came out. The community felt so valued when they saw the medications because they had none. They understood that it was a valuable gift and it would mean health for their community,” reflects Earle.

After such a rewarding experience, this led him to continue with trips back to Niger, Burkina Faso and most recently Ghana.

Earle volunteered his time and skills to support HPIC’s Obaatanpa project in Ghana – in the Twi dialect, Obaatanpa means caring mother. HPIC began the Obaatanpa project in 2018 to improve the capacity of nine health facilities in the Amansie West and South Districts of the Ashanti region. These facilities provide services to pregnant women, mothers, newborn babies and young children and one of the key components is to enhance pharmaceutical management capacity.  

Earle assessed the conditions and needs of each dispensary, conducted training in good dispensing practices and made suggestions on how to improve the dispensing process and the storage of pharmaceuticals. According to Earle, although there is room for improvement, the healthcare system in Ghana works well. 

“I had an interesting experience at one of the clinics. I saw a boy about five years old sitting on a bench perspiring from a fever. A few minutes later, a nurse came out and gave him some Tylenol. The boy was suffering from malaria and intestinal parasites. I was grateful that the clinic had the necessary medications to treat his conditions.”

Earle was very impressed with the sophistication of the health system in Ghana. The challenge comes when medicines are lacking or when fees are charged that many patients are unable to afford. 

When travelling overseas, Earle typically brings Humanitarian Medical Kits with him to stock clinics with medicines donated by Canadians through HPIC. When community members visit these clinics, they are not charged for the donated medicines. 

Earle has been engaged with HPIC for over 20 years supporting its mission of increasing access to medicine and improving health in vulnerable communities. He hopes his volunteer experience will inspire others who have an interest in humanitarian work to use their gifts and talents. This year, he arranged for two doctors from Halifax to volunteer with HPIC to work alongside two Ghanaian doctors to train local midwives in advancing techniques of helping babies breathe and helping mothers survive childbirth. He says, “I would strongly encourage people to get involved with HPIC to use their skills, travel and take donated medications overseas because it will vastly improve the health outcomes of the people there.”

On July 20th the Rotary Club of Dartmouth bestowed a Paul Harris fellowships to Lillian Munroe, Dale Thomas, Sylvia Andrews for their outstanding service to the Dartmouth North Boys and Girls Club location and Dartmouth North community.  The Paul Harris Fellowship Award is one of the highest honors Rotary can bestow upon a person. Recipients are recognized for their outstanding contributions, exemplifying the highest ideal in Rotary in placing “SERVICE ABOVE SELF.”
Lillian, Sylvia, and Dale possess about 100 combined years of service at the Dartmouth North site of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Halifax. They have served and supported generations of children and youth Lillian and Sylvia both joined the Club in September 1987 and have been an inseparable and unstoppable dynamic duo ever since. Lillian and Sylvia have worked in all programs at the Dartmouth North site, including nursery school, breakfast programs, before and after school programs and many food security programs. Special programs and community projects have long benefitted from their steady leadership over years including community fairs, children parades, Breakfast with Santa, Walk against Violence and community meals. Club alumni often refer to Lillian and Sylvia as the "mothers of the Club."
On July 5th the Rotary Club of Dartmouth bestowed a Paul Harris fellowship to Joe Gibson the Executive Director of the Freedom Foundation.   The Paul Harris Fellowship Award is one of the highest honors Rotary can bestow upon a person. Recipients are recognized for their outstanding contributions, exemplifying the highest ideal in Rotary in placing “SERVICE ABOVE SELF.”
Joe Gibson certainly exemplifies our ideals.  Through his work with the Foundation Joe has change the life thousands of men who were in need of help.  He has probably saved more lives than anyone our club has honoured in the past.
Freedom Foundation of Nova Scotia is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping men who are recovering from addiction. Their mission is to provide services which foster recovery from addictions and a development of a positive self-image and self-worth in a secure and caring environment
Originally from Cape Breton, Joe spent several years in Lethbridge, working at Southern Alcare Manor, helping people dealing with addictions.  After nine years in Lethbridge, he got a call from that Talbot House (now Alcare Place) on Robie Street in Halifax needed a manager for its safe house.
After a year, Gibson left Talbot House. He wanted to start another safe house in Dartmouth for men in recovery.  The main reason was that there were many men were leaving detox centres and going back to the same environment....continued....

Our first face to face meeting since the pandemic struck in 2020 was held at the Parkside Pub & Smokehouse on July 5th.  At the meeting 3 members received formal recognition.   

Lorraine Lewis was presented with a plaque recognising her outstanding contribution and leadership as President of the Rotary Club of Dartmouth during the 2020-21 year.
Don Penwell received a “True Rotarian Award”.  The True Rotarian Award is presented to a Rotarian who demonstrates through his/her Rotary and community life that he/she lives by the four-way test and provides 'Service Above Self'. The "True Rotarian" has a Rotary attitude.
Ed Towle received a Paul Harris Fellowship.   The Paul Harris Fellowship Award is one of the highest honors Rotary can bestow upon a person. Recipients are Rotarians and community professionals, recognized for their outstanding contributions, exemplifying the highest ideal in Rotary in placing “SERVICE ABOVE SELF.” 

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