Polio erad­i­ca­tion now in sight

But Ro­tary clubs still need fund­ing

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By DAVID HULME

Mata­mata Ro­tary is again at the fore­front of global fundrais­ing ef­forts to rid the world of polio, rais­ing more than $ 9000 for the cam­paign at last week’s Ru­ral Ur­ban char­ity din­ner.

The lo­cal event, which was part of Ro­tary In­ter­na­tional’s World’s Great­est Meal cam­paign, saw hun­dreds of Ro­tary clubs around the globe fundrais­ing for the cause and once again Mata­mata was one of the largest in­di­vid­ual con­tribut­ing events.

Ro­tary Club of Mata­mata Di­rec­tor Tony Wild­ing said he was blown away by the re­sponse from the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

‘‘We set our­selves mod­est tar­gets from this event and are ab­so­lutely as­tounded by the gen­eros­ity of the 200 guests who at­tended the din­ner.

‘‘ More than $ 4500 was raised from the auc­tion of desserts alone and with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion match­ing our to­tal con­tri­bu­tion two to one, it means the lo­cal event has con­trib­uted a stag­ger­ing $27,000 to the End Polio Now cam­paign,’’ Wild­ing said.

‘‘ Mata­mata has once again pulled to­gether to show the true mean­ing of com­mu­nity.’’

In 2012, the Mata­mata com­mu­nity took the polio erad­i­ca­tion mes­sage to heart when the Global Swimarathon in town net­ted $20,000 for Ro­tary In­ter­na­tional’s Polio Plus cam­paign – the sin­gle largest con­tri­bu­tion in that event.

Wild­ing said Ro­tary In­ter­na­tional had been at the fore­front of the polio erad­i­ca­tion pro­gramme for nearly three decades.

‘‘There are now only three coun­tries – Pak­istan, Afghanistan and Nigeria – where polio is still en­demic. We [Ro­tary In­ter­na­tional] are very close to the end goal of com­plete erad­i­ca­tion but there is a need to con­tinue fundrais­ing un­til that aim is achieved.’’

Polio is a crip­pling, some­times life-threat­en­ing dis­ease, which can be trans­ferred rapidly in ar­eas where chil­dren have not been vac­ci­nated.

The evening’s speaker Dr Jacqueline Rowarth, Pro­fes­sor of Agribusi­ness at Waikato Univer­sity, gave her per­spec­tive on the con­tin­u­ing bat­tle to feed an ever-grow­ing world pop­u­la­tion in a sus­tain­able man­ner.

‘‘In the 1950s there were 3 bil­lion people in the world and now we have more than 9 bil­lion,’’ Rowarth said. ‘‘Agri­cul­ture is about feed­ing people sus­tain­ably so we can pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment’’.

Rowarth said that while the world faced the is­sue of sus­tain­abil­ity, the driv­ing force for con­sumers in the su­per­mar­ket was price, not where or how the food is pro­duced.

‘‘Our chal­lenge is to get people to un­der­stand that the pro­por­tion of in­come spent on food is get­ting less. Last year the (food) spend was up by 0.6 per cent but wages rose on aver­age 1.6 per cent.’’

Rowarth said it was vi­tal that there was con­tin­ued re­search into sus­tain­able food pro­duc­tion, given New Zealand govern­ment ex­pec­ta­tions that the value of ex­ports to gross do­mes­tic prod­uct would rise to 40 per cent by 2025.

‘‘ We need govern­ment en­cour­age­ment for par­tic­i­pa­tion in sci­ences at sec­ondary and ter­tiary lev­els and to set re­source man­age­ment poli­cies based on sci­en­tific re­search and ev­i­dence.

‘‘With this, New Zealand can play a leading role in sus­tain­abil­ity in the global mar­ket­place,’’ Rowarth said.

In­for­ma­tive: Dr Jacqueline Rowarth dis­cusses sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture.

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