Polio cam­paign boosted

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By ABBY BROWN

Mata­mata Ro­tary Club mem­bers who at­tended the Ro­tary In­ter­na­tional’s an­nual con­ven­tion in Syd­ney re­cently said break­ing world records was just one of the high­lights.

Eight Mata­mata Ro­tar­i­ans and their part­ners at­tended the con­ven­tion and were part of not one but two world records. One was the most people on the Syd­ney Har­bour bridge, 180, and the other be­ing the most flags on the bridge, nearly 200.

Meet­ing the Ro­tary in­ter­na­tional pres­i­dent Ron Bur­ton along with in­spir­ing Par­a­lympian and Ro­tary am­bas­sado­rial scholar Ade Ade­pitan were also high­lights.

Ade­pitan, who got polio in Nigeria, went onto rep­re­sent Great Bri­tain in the Par­a­lympics in bas­ket­ball.

‘‘ He was one of the most im­pres­sive speak­ers,’’ for­mer Mata­mata Ro­tary Club pres­i­dent Eric Tan­ner said.

‘‘He was hu­mor­ous, in­for­ma­tive and acted as an am­bas­sador for polio; he went back to Nigeria where he was born and he ral­lied the masses as those with polio were kept out of sight so he raised aware­ness of that.’’

An­other speaker was Kelsi Cox, a Cana­dian on a Ro­tary Schol­ar­ship, who was work­ing in Fiji.

Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott an­nounced a $100 mil­lion com­mit­ment from his govern­ment to end­ing polio at the con­ven­tion. The funds will be spread over five years and will go to­wards mak­ing coun­tries in north­ern Africa and the Mid­dle East, where out­breaks have been re­ported, polio-free.

It will also help Afghanistan, Pak­istan and Nigeria, where the dis­ease is en­demic. The Mata­mata Ro­tar­i­ans also raised aware­ness of the Ro­tary In­ter­na­tional End Polio Now project by tak­ing part in a 3km walk.

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