I am delighted to hear the news that Somalia has joined the list of counties to be declared Polio free. The tremendous efforts made by the Somalian government, in addition to the work that volunteers and UN workers have made with vaccination campaigns, have finally paid off. There have been no recorded cases of polio in Somalia since 2014 and moving forward, the World Health Organisation have said it will continue the Polio programme, maintaining and improving the level of population immunity.
We must not forget that although there have been no new cases of Polio in Somalia, many will be left suffering Polio’s legacy in the form of Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), a neurological condition that affects around 80% of Polio survivors. 120,000 Polio survivors in Britain already live with PPS, and face up to eight years waiting for a diagnosis; without an established care pathway, they struggle to access essential treatments and benefits. While there is no cure for PPS, there is much we can do to alleviate and manage the symptoms.
Ted Hill MBE
CEO, The British Polio Fellowship