On 24 October World Polio Day is marked around the globe. Until eradication, this terrible virus remains the world’s problem. When eradication day dawns and Polio is finally banished to the history books, Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) will remain with survivors for decades to come.
Polio is so close to becoming the second human disease to be eradicated after smallpox in 1980. With Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria the only counties where Polio remains endemic, we can’t stop now. 24 October is a reminder we need to beat this disease once and for all. Cases in Syria have shown Polio’s power to pop up when least expected and until the very last case, Polio will remain the world’s problem.
When Polio is defeated, millions will confront PPS, a debilitating neurological condition that affects around 80% of Polio survivors. 120,000 people in Britain are living with PPS today and can face six years waiting for a diagnosis. Without a care pathway, they struggle to access essential treatments and benefits, when there is much we can do to alleviate and manage the symptoms. The lessons we learn about PPS management today, will help us support who must be the final victims of Polio tomorrow.
The British Polio Fellowship continues to raise awareness and offer support to those who are affected by PPS. If you want more information, contact the British Polio Fellowship on 0800 043 1935 or visit www.britishpolio.org.uk
Ted Hill MBE
CEO, The British Polio Fellowship