Rotary honored six members as People of Action: Champions of Health on World Health Day 7 April, in recognition of their work to improve the foundation of good health at home and across the globe. The work of these members proved especially important and challenging due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

They will also be recognized at the 2021 Virtual Convention for their outstanding contribution to health.

Rohantha Athukorala

Rohantha Athukorala

Rotary Club of Colombo Reconnections, Sri Lanka

In April while Sri Lanka was on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rohantha used his time in isolation to rally other members across Sri Lanka and create Stop the Spread, a comprehensive effort to reduce new infections through behavior changes. The program brought the country's top athletes together with some 15,000 Rotarians, Rotactors, and Interactors to create awareness of health protocols and behavior change that can slow the spread of the disease. They also created a certification program for businesses that met new health and safety protocols addressing the spread of the virus. More than 300 businesses have been certified including schools, supermarkets, hotels, and tea and apparel industries. Read more about the project.

PoA Julie

Julie Dockrill

Rotary Club of Timaru, New Zealand

In 2013, Dockrill and other midwives introduced a Maternal and Infant Health Education program in Mongolia that has been adopted by the Ministry of Health. They created a "train the trainer" curriculum and made numerous trips to the country to help educate healthcare workers, university students, and expectant mothers about safety practices and protocols of childbirth. Since the program was launched in Mongolia, the mortality rate among pregnant mother and newborns has decreased by 60%.

James Ham

James Ham

Rotary Club of Honolulu Sunset, Hawaii, USA

The Homeless Outreach & Medical Education (H.O.M.E.) Project has provided free medical services through weekly clinics in nine sites across Oahu, Hawaii. Ham, an emergency physician in Honolulu and an assistant clinical professor at the University of Hawaii's school of medicine, began volunteering with the project four years ago. Ham's Rotary club purchased and stocks a mobile clinic that expands the project's reach. To address the COVID-19 pandemic, Ham organized 12 Rotary clubs to provide hot meals and masks and hygiene kits to a quarantine camp for homeless people, as well as PPE to the volunteers who offer frontline care.

Mohan Kumar

Mohan Kumar

Rotary Club of Bangalore Prime, India

Since 2007, Kumar's Reach the Unreached organization, has led efforts to provide prosthetic hands to more than 20,000 people in mostly economically-challenged communities of Africa and South Asia. He credits volunteers with leading him to the people who most needed help: among them, a mother who can now hold her baby, a barber able to resume his profession, and a boy who lost both hands in an electrocution accident. According to Kumar, accidents often lead to amputation among the more than two-thirds of India's 1.3 billion inhabitants who live in low-income rural areas.

Isabel Scarinci

Isabel Scarinci

Rotary Club of Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Scarinci, a polio survivor, has been a strong advocate for polio eradication. She is now leading efforts to eliminate another disease: cervical cancer. Funded by a Rotary Foundation global grant, the Rotary clubs of Birmingham and Colombo (Sri Lanka) have joined with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health and the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where Scarinci is a behavioral scientist, to vaccinate girls in Sri Lanka against the human papillomavirus and to screen women for the disease at ages 35 and 45.

Scarinci contracted polio as an infant in Brazil in 1963. She recovered, and together with her mother, has become a strong advocate for polio vaccination.


Teguest Yilma

Rotary Club of Addis Ababa Entoto, Ethiopia

On World Polio Day last October, Yilma, chair of Ethiopia's PolioPlus committee, collaborated with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization to conduct a high-level panel discussion that addressed the problems COVID-19 created for ongoing polio eradication efforts. The media attention that event received helped people understand the importance of continuing National Immunization Days and spurred the government to continue providing polio and measles immunizations throughout the pandemic.