Ethiopian resident among six recognized for strengthening life-saving health services and building community health infrastructure


With less than half of the global population receiving essential health services, Rotary members are taking action to connect those in need to life-saving treatment and disease prevention, while helping to strengthen community health systems.
Teguest Yilma Bultcha, Chair of Rotary’s Ethiopia National PolioPlus Committee and founding member of the Rotary Club of Addis Ababa Entoto, is one of six Rotary People of Action: Champions of Health. She was selected from more than 100 nominees, and is being recognized for her work to ensure communities maintained access to basic health services and for promoting the resumption of essential immunization programs against polio and measles during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A long-standing managing editor of weekly newspaper Capital, Teguest Yilma has put her journalistic experience to work, raising awareness about polio vaccinations and the importance of strengthening routine immunization programs. She has also worked alongside fellow Rotary members to expand services to children who have suffered the impacts of polio.
“COVID-19 shows us how important a strong healthcare system is,” said Rotary International President Holger Knaack. “Treating and preventing disease is one of Rotary’s top causes. I am inspired by our members who are helping millions of our most vulnerable in receiving essential health services. With local knowledge, skills and innovative thinking, our six Champions of Health are strengthening health care systems and helping more people gain access to care in the long term.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rotary’s Ethiopia National PolioPlus Committee has focused on maintaining routine immunization services for children. Under Teguest Yilma’s leadership, the Committee developed public awareness campaigns and events, including a high-level panel discussion in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and other partners that addressed how to prioritize and adapt immunization services during the Covid-19 pandemic, and how to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on vaccine-preventable diseases.
Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 36,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping those in need in their own communities to working towards a polio-free world.