Iris and Yu-ching attended Polio Australia’s Polio Health and Wellness Retreat in 2018. Iris is a polio survivor and Yu-ching is a physiotherapist, both living in Taiwan. There is limited information about post-polio in Taiwan, so they attended the Retreat to gather information to provide to survivors in Taiwan. When Iris and Yu-ching returned to Taiwan, they held a meeting to present what they had learnt. Iris provided the following account:
On 1st December, Yu-ching and I held a meeting, hosted by a senior physiotherapist, referred to as a “polio expert”, on a sunny Saturday morning in Taiwan. In attendance, were around 30 polio survivors, including four younger polio survivors (36 – 69 years), physiotherapists and a neurologist.
During my presentation, I spoke to the audience about our experience travelling in Australia and what I learnt from the Retreat. I explained the benefits of using a wheelchair and crutches and after the meeting, some of the polio survivors were interested in using them too.
In Yu-ching’s presentation, she introduced Polio Australia’s staff and highlighted some key health issues among polio survivors including sarcopenia and osteoporosis and the importance of muscle strength testing.
Some of the polio survivors I spoke to after the meeting, told me it was the first time they had attended a meeting about polio, and the first time they had met other polio survivors who are open-minded and willing to learn more about Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS). They also discussed their problems with finding a ‘polio expert’, their refusal to use mobility aids and their concerns about ageing.
The attendees had many questions, and we knew this was just the beginning – we will be able to learn more about PPS together.
Before attending Polio Australia’s Retreat, I didn’t think much about polio, as I am the youngest polio survivor in Taiwan. But now I know there are people all over the world advocating for polio and I am not alone. I am now starting to spread awareness for other polio survivors – amazing!!