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OSAKA — Poverty and public health issues will be tackled during the International Rotary Convention here in May, the head of Rotary International said Tuesday.

“The theme for the 2004 convention is ‘lend a hand.’ But, specifically, we will focus on four areas where Rotarians might do so,” Rotary International President Jonathan Majiyagbe said. “Two of the more important ones are helping to alleviate poverty wherever Rotary operates and the second is to issue a call for help in areas of health concern.

“In the case of public health issues, working to provide health care to children affected by HIV or who suffer from malaria. In the case of alleviating poverty, it could mean helping the homeless in developing and developed countries,” said Majiyagbe, who hails from Nigeria.

The other two themes are eliminating illiteracy and ways the various Rotary chapters can work together.

When asked whether humanitarian assistance for Iraq might be discussed at the convention, Majiyagbe said that because Rotary is a nongovernmental organization, it does not directly discuss religion or political events at its conventions.

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