Polio Australia launches clinical advisory group for survivors

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Polio survivors at Polio Australia's 2017 health and wellness retreat on the Sunshine Coast.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: Polio survivors at Polio Australia's 2017 health and wellness retreat on the Sunshine Coast.

POLIO is largely thought to be a problem of the past in Australia, but there are thousands of survivors living with the disease's late effects who are slipping through the cracks of the health care system.

Polio Australia has launched a new clinical advisory group which will aim to increase the amount of support services for people living with polio's late effects and to increase the knowledge of health professionals.

Health promotions officer Rachel Ingram said 400,000 Australians were diagnosed with polio before it was eradicated from Australia and thousands were living with late stage effects which include muscle weakness in new areas, pain and fatigue.

She said polio killed motor neurons, so as survivors aged, remaining motor neurons were killed off at a faster rate.

"It almost feels to many polio survivors as if their polio has come back again," she said.

"Most health professionals don't know about the late effects of polio, most view it as a problem of the past."

The advisory group will be made up of 16 leading specialists who will help Polio Australia deliver the best clinical practice research.

"We can use the expertise of these people to inform the workshops we do and improve support services and advocacy efforts."

The organisation is also preparing to launch a new blog for polio survivors between mid November and early December which will provide up to date news and information for polio survivors.

"The blog will keep people informed about new initiatives and activities that will be out there and will highlight various resources that will be available."

"It will also provide an opportunity for survivors to write in and share their stories."

For more information, click here, or if you are a survivor and would like to share your story, email office@polioaustralia.org.

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This story Demanding action for polio survivors first appeared on The Senior.