Support to address the late effects of polio

By Kate Reid, 22 October 2018 , Comments

Though the World Health Organisation declared Australia to be polio free in 2000, there are still many Australians who live with the late effects of polio. This term refers to new symptoms, such as muscle pain and fatigue, which can appear many years after the original illness.

Northcott has a strong association with the disease, having been established in 1929 in response to the polio epidemic. The Society provided services to children with polio, tuberculosis and other diseases who had been excluded from mainstream society.

Polio NSW, whose office is located in the Northcott building in North Parramatta, recently held their Country Conference at Panthers Port Macquarie. The event was hosted by the Port Macquarie Support Group and provided an opportunity for attendees to learn strategies on how to live a comfortable life while ageing with the late effects of polio.

The conference opened with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council Mayor Peta Pinson, who spoke about the council’s Disability Inclusion Plan and Access Committee.

The program continued with presentations from specialists including Polio Australia’s Clinical Educator Paul Cavendish, Rehabilitation Physician Dr Roslyn Avery, Occupational Therapist Linda Waters and Podiatrist Don Scott.

The presenters spoke on a range of topics including pain management, fitness, footwear, diet and more. There was also an opportunity for attendees to ask individual questions about specific issues relating to polio.

“The Country Conference provided those living outside of the Sydney area the chance to meet up with old friends, make new friends, and to swap stories and information,” Polio NSW Vice-President Susan Ellis said.

“It is always beneficial to spend time with other like-minded people living day to day with the late effects of polio.”

Polio NSW is a self-help, self-funded organisation run almost entirely by volunteers and has been supporting polio survivors since 1989. Two seminars are held annually with a Country Conference every two or three years. The organisation also distributes a newsletter, called Network News, which includes reports on the seminars in detail for members who are unable to attend. 

In 2019 Polio NSW will also be hosting Polio Australia’s four day retreat. The retreats have been held annually since October 2010 as part of World Polio Day – which aims to end polio worldwide.

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If you’re looking for support with the late effects of polio, check out the Polio NSW website.


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