Did you know …

… that polio survivors make up the largest single physical disability group in Australia?

In Australia today there are an estimated 400,000 polio survivors, predominantly aged over 50. Up to 40,000 Australians were diagnosed with the most severe form of the disease, paralytic polio, between 1930 and 1988.

As Australia’s population ages, a growing number of polio survivors, once fully active members of society, are now experiencing new and debilitating symptoms known as the Late Effects of Polio. These symptoms can include new muscle and joint pain and weakness, unaccustomed fatigue, respiratory and sleep problems, and swallowing or speaking difficulties. Many polio survivors who used to walk independently must now use braces, crutches or wheelchairs, as well as make significant lifestyle changes.

If you are a polio survivor living in Australia and you haven’t yet added your name to the Australian Polio Register, please click the link so you will be counted. Our strength lies in our numbers – please help us to get you the services you need by adding your details to the Register today!

About Polio Australia

Polio Australia is a consumer-founded and consumer-run, consumer-focused, not-for-profit, incorporated organisation endorsed by the ATO as a Health Promotion Charity.

Polio Australia was established in 2008 to develop and disseminate standardised quality information for polio survivors, and to ensure appropriate and consistent service provision across Australia. We are also dedicated supporters of the continuing need for vaccination against the poliovirus.

Polio Australia strives to provide life changing intervention programs for the polio community, ensuring that people can continue their contributions to society, maintain quality of life, and stay out of the acute care health system.

In spite of this very necessary service, Polio Australia currently receives no government – or any other recurrent – funding. Fundraising is time consuming and highly competitive, but absolutely vital if Australia’s polio survivors are to receive the support they need.

Why Services are Required

Polio Australia and the six state Post Polio Networks it represents receive minimal funding, yet are the only organisations providing education and advocacy services for Australia’s large post-polio community.

Lack of access to skilled polio services results in early retirement, loss of financial security and independence, increased hospital admissions for acute episodes, or premature admission to nursing homes as polio survivors lose the ability to care for themselves. With the assistance of self management strategies, people with the Late Effects of Polio will be able to slow down their rate of physical deterioration, be productive workers for longer, and make reduced demands on the health and welfare systems.

The Late Effects of Polio require specialist knowledge to appropriately manage this unique, chronic condition. Only 5% of polio survivors currently have access to health professionals who understand polio’s late effects, and 75% of this small number have to travel to metropolitan services that have a waiting list of up to six months. Effective and timely diagnosis and management of the Late Effects are vital to slow down the deterioration caused by this chronic condition.

Please visit the Polio Australia website for more information