— PRESS RELEASE —
October is Polio Awareness Month. Polio Australia’s awareness campaign hopes to bring renewed understanding of the plight of 400,000 Australians who originally contracted this debilitating disease, and how the current-day polio “legacy lives on”. A range of activities including a “Polio Timeline” display, will culminate in the nationwide launch of a clinical practice resource for health professionals titled “The Late Effects Of Polio: Managing Muscles And Mobility” on 29th October at Parliament House in Canberra. Their ‘fresh-look’ logo acts as a visual cue that represents the progressive and targeted awareness and education campaign about the Late Effects of Polio (LEoP) and Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS), aptly named “We’re Still Here!”.
Polio Australia is the peak body for post-polio education, information and support to thousands of Australians. Decades on from the original poliomyelitis epidemics in Australia, those who contracted this devastating disease are now faced with fresh challenges to their health. October is a chance to raise new awareness of the chronic and often debilitating conditions associated with ageing with disability, weakness, fatigue and pain, that today’s post-polio population face on a daily basis.
Gillian Thomas, Polio Australia’s inaugural President and polio survivor says “The clinical practice module fills the post-polio knowledge-gap for today’s health professionals, many of whom have had no direct experience of the disease, yet are called upon to care for polio clients. The module is focused on educating and informing GP’s and allied health professionals on recognising and diagnosing the Late Effects of Polio (LEoP) and Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS). It provides polio-specific and best-practice management options to effectively support post-polio patients. This understanding is vital for proper care for LEoP and its underdiagnosed subset, PPS”.
With absolutely no government funding, and the NDIS being rolled out too late to help anyone over 65 years old (now pushed back to 2020), support for those experiencing LEoP has been left in the hands of the people themselves. Recognising the urgent need for upskilling health professional’s in the best way to care for this population, Polio Australia commissioned the clinical practice resource thanks to a private donor who wishes to remain anonymous. Polio Australia also provides current best-practice information and resources through polio client support activities, educational opportunities for the health sector, public awareness campaigns, and via its websites www.polioaustralia.org.au and www.stillhere.org.au.
During October, it is hoped that the Australian Government and wider community will get behind Polio Australia and take a ‘fresh look’ at “the legacy of polio” – the very real, very current, chronic conditions of LEoP and PPS now facing the largest single physical disability group in the country.