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Health

Australia Gives $450,000 to Polio Survivors Group

The Australian government has just announced they will provide $450,000 in funding to support the treatment of polio survivors in Australia.

The funding will allow Polio Australia, a support group for polio survivors, to facilitate workshops to up to 1,200 health professionals, training them in awareness and treatment of post-polio syndrome (PPS).

This condition affects polio survivors years, sometimes decades after their recovery and can present itself as a weakening in muscles as well as other symptoms.

The hope is that a better understanding of the symptoms will allow health workers to correctly diagnose and treat the symptoms leading to a better quality of life for survivors.

Read more: Australia Just Announced $18 million for Polio Eradication

There are about 400,000 polio survivors in Australia, most of them over the age of 50. According to Polio Australia this makes them the largest physical disability group in Australia.

Until the late 1950s, after the vaccine had been introduced and widely used, the polio virus crippled thousands of children every year in developed countries such Australia. In 2000 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Australia polio free.

While much progress has been made in the fight against polio, the infectious illness is still endemic in three remaining hard to reach countries: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Read more: G20 Health Ministers Recognise the Historic Opportunity to Contribute to Global Polio Eradication

Recent vaccine-derived outbreaks in Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo prove how everywhere is at risk while the disease exists anywhere.  

As Rotarians, Global Citizens, and organisations such as World Health Organization, UNICEF, RESULTS and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation continue the fight to end polio globally, it’s great to see existing polio survivors receive this support. With One Last Push we will see polio eradicated once and for all.