This is an excerpt from an article appearing in the November 3rd 2002 online issue issue of the South County Journal from Kent (

* Up Close, And Very Personal -- It's been decades since the people of this country worried actively about polio.

Not so the populations of some less fortunate areas of the world.

Count among them Africa.

Now a trio of Rotary members from Kent are getting a close-up look at the need -- and lending a personal hand to help meet it.

Steve Mariotti and Mark McKay of the Sunrise Rotary and Bill Stewart of the Rotary Club of Kent are part of a Rotary team working to eradicate polio in Africa.

In an e-mail from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mariotti wrote that he and McKay were scheduled to fly out on Tuesday of this past week to Gondar (once the capitol of Ethiopia) to spend 2½ days helping a World Health Organization team administer polio vaccine to children.

They'd already visited two hospitals that have received financial support from Seattle area Rotary clubs, he said.

One was a hospital for children recovering from surgery to help them recover from the effects of polio. The other was a hospital for young women having problems with labor.

"We met one young 18-year-old who was in labor for six days and, of course, lost her child. Only 2 percent of the children born survive when the mother has been in labor more than two days,'' Mariotti said.

He called the visit "an eye opener.''


South County Scene is written by Mary Swift and appears Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Call 253-872-6672 or e-mail mary.swift@south

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