AmsterdamPost Polio Syndrome – a condition without boundaries
2nd European Polio Conference
25 to 27 June 2014 – Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The conference theme “Post-Polio Syndrome – A Condition without Boundaries” refers to the aim to cover all aspects of health problems due to polio across the world.

The successful polio eradication program requires tremendous efforts and is now reaching its end stage. The challenges are to free the last endemic countries of polio, and to maintain high vaccination rates around the world to prevent outbreaks.

Although polio ‘disappears’ in almost all countries, the knowledge to adequately treat the estimated 20 million polio survivors must be preserved. The health issues for aging polio survivors and young polio survivors differ. In young polio survivors the challenge is to prevent and treat severe deformities, to reduce disability and to improve societal participation. In aging polio survivors, treatment focuses on post-polio syndrome and on secondary disorders of the locomotory system due to long-standing overuse, with the aim to preserve independence and quality of life.

The age of polio survivors, and the resulting health problems, differ largely between countries depending on when vaccination was successfully introduced in the health care system. Therefore an important aim of the Conference is to exchange knowledge about the diagnosis and treatment of polio residuals in different age groups across the world to best preserve functioning throughout life.

To facilitate better care and to build international connections, the Conference brings together health care providers, researchers, polio survivors, their caregivers and patient organisation representatives from Europe and worldwide. The Conference has dedicated sessions for polio survivors and for health care providers emphasizing research results and state-of-the art clinical practice. Since care for polio survivors involves many different disciplines, the Conference targets professionals in the field of rehabilitation medicine, virologists, neurologists, orthopaedic surgeons, doctors in tropical medicine, and trainees for these specialties.

For further information, visit the Conference website.

Mary-ann Liethof will be one of several Australians attending this conference, both to represent Australia’s polio survivors and to learn the latest on post-polio management techniques and research. Mary-ann will be joined by Dr John Tierney, Polio Australia’s President and National Patron, who will be giving an oral presentation titled “Self-Management of the Late Effects of Polio (LEOP) – Seeking Government and Private Funding Support: The Australian Experience”. Mary-ann has a poster presentation titled “Polio Australia’s Annual Health and Wellness Retreats Review: the implications for participants on Health Literacy and Health Outcomes”.

Other Aussies (who we know of) making the journey to Amsterdam include: Robyn and Hans Aulmann (Victoria), Sue and Graeme Mackenzie (Queensland), Jill Pickering (Victoria), and Merle Thompson (New South Wales).

Watch out for Mary-ann’s daily blog from Amsterdam – commencing 23 June!