U.S. Government Partners with Serbian Rotary Clubs to Fight COVID and Save Premature Babies

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U.S. Government Partners with Serbian Rotary Clubs to Fight COVID and Save Premature Babies
Shanley Pinchotti, USAID, speaks at the virtual celebration of World Rotary Day
Rotary club Serbia

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

FEBRUARY 24, 2021: The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has awarded two grants to support the Rotary Clubs of Čačak and Pančevo in their efforts to better equip their hospitals to provide quality healthcare for their communities. The grants were announced yesterday by Shanley Pinchotti, USAID’s Director of the Office of Democratic and Economic Growth during a virtual celebration of World Rotary Day with Rotarians all around Serbia.

Through the “Stop COVID” grant, USAID is supporting the Čačak Rotary Club’s initiative to purchase PCR testing and diagnostic equipment for the Institute of Public Health Čačak (PHI). The equipment and training of PHI staff on its use will make it possible for PHI to test for COVID-19 quickly and on site, as opposed to the current situation where test swabs have to be transported elsewhere and patients have long waits for their results. Post-COVID, the PCR testing apparatus will also allow PHI to test for and diagnose many other diseases at much earlier stages than PHI’s existing equipment permits. The total cost of this initiative is $148,000 with the cost being shared equally by USAID and Rotary, including The Rotary Foundation, the Rotary Club of Cačak, the Rotary Club of Austin, Texas, and other clubs in the United States, Germany, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Finland, Austria and Serbia.

The “Bike for Babies” grant will provide the General Hospital Pančevo with medical equipment needed for the treatment and transport of infants born prematurely. The grant, which gets its name from the initiative of Pančevo Rotarian Dušan Milojkov who biked 8,000 km across Europe to raise awareness and funding to help babies born prematurely to survive, will provide two incubators (one mobile and one stationary), one reanimation table and three phototherapy lamps to the Hospital. After assessing the needs of their community, the Rotary Club of Pančevo had identified a lack of modern equipment at the Hospital was contributing to Pančevo having an infant death rate significantly above the national average. The cost of this $67,280 initiative is being shared equally between USAID and Rotary, including The Rotary Foundation, the Rotary Club of Pančevo, Rotary District 6060 of Eastern Missouri, USA and other clubs in the United States, Great Britain, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Serbia.

These grants were made possible through the USAID-Rotary Hearts of Europe initiative.  Through Hearts of Europe, USAID has partnered with Rotary to co-invest in communities across Europe and Eurasia.  Rotary clubs in eligible Europe and Eurasia countries are able to apply for grants to jointly design and implement development projects across the region with Rotary clubs in the US. 

“Our colleagues in Washington DC commend you, the Serbian Rotarians, for your activism and your careful understanding of your communities’ needs. As a result, Rotarians in Serbia have been very active under the Hearts of Europe project. USAID is proud to be part of your efforts, all the more because we have done a lot of work already in those same communities. For example, USAID Serbia recently cooperated with the Pančevo General Hospital to fully refurbish all of its substations in order to provide reliable heat and sanitary hot water.”

For more information on Hearts of Europe, please visit Rotary’s website: https://my.rotary.org/en/hearts-europe-global-grants

Last updated: March 05, 2021

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