As the world celebrates the highly successful polio eradication program, which has reduced the number of polio endemic countries to three – Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan – the challenge to maintain high vaccination rates around the world to prevent further outbreaks remains.
At the other end of the challenge continuum is the growing need for health professionals with the knowledge to adequately treat the estimated 20 million people who are survivors of polio. Polio survivors can be found in every country around the world, although those in the Western World tend to be an ageing demographic, whereas those in developing countries are across the age spectrum.
The health issues for ageing 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 social participation. In ageing polio survivors, treatment focuses on Post-Polio Syndrome (predominantly neurological) and biomechanical decline due to consistent overuse (the Late Effects of Polio or Post-Polio Sequalae), with the aim of preserving independence and quality of life.
The first ever Australasia-Pacific Post-Polio Conference will facilitate better care and build international connections by bringing together health care providers, researchers, polio survivors, their caregivers and patient organisation representatives not only from the Australasia-Pacific region, but worldwide.
The aim of the Conference is to exchange knowledge about the diagnosis and treatment of the post-polio condition in different age groups to best preserve functioning throughout life.
The Conference will provide sessions for both polio survivors and health care providers, emphasising research results and gold standard evidence-based clinical practice. Since care for polio survivors involves many different disciplines, the Conference will target professionals in the fields of rehabilitation medicine, virology, neurology, orthopaedic surgery, allied health, and students in these areas.
One way that Polio Australia is raising funds to stage the Conference is through the sale of
Post-Polio Awareness Packs
the sale of 100 packs will raise $5,000 towards Conference costs