This year’s British Polio Month (July-August) was a great success and the UK campaign led by The British Polio Fellowship mirrored progress on the worldwide eradication of Polio, yet much work remains to be done before we can consign this terrible disease and its effects to the history books.
Our friends purging Polio globally have made progress in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, with significant reductions in new cases. An outbreak in the Horn of Africa is a new cause for concern, as on-going conflicts in these countries can hamper the fight against Polio in over 145 territories throughout the world.
While the struggle against Polio in these countries may seem thousands of miles away, over 120,000 people are living with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) in the UK today who need support. This debilitating neurological condition is a largely unknown or misunderstood legacy of Polio in our own country. The British Polio Fellowship is here to help. From people who survived Polio only to face PPS in later life, to those in the Asian community living with Polio – or medical professionals seeking more information on PPS – we are only a call or a click away. The British Polio Fellowship can be contacted on 0800 043 1935.
Ted Hill MBE
CEO, The British Polio Fellowship
Notes to editors
Even if the day we celebrate the eradication of Polio was tomorrow, the legacy of PPS would live on for decades, so for The British Polio Fellowship, much remains to be done and making GPs and the general public alike are aware of Polio and PPS remains our top priority.
The British Polio Fellowship helps and supports people living with the effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome in the UK. It is run by a board of trustees, 75% of whom are affected by Polio themselves.
Polio is an infectious disease, caused by one of three types of Polio virus. In around 95% of cases it results in minor flu-like symptoms, such as feeling sick and having a high temperature. However, it can go on to invade the nervous system, damaging the nerve cells that control muscles and causing weakness, paralysis, cramps and pain.
Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) is a neurological condition that can occur in people that have had Polio. This is when people may develop new symptoms of increasing weakness, fatigue and pain having had no change in their symptoms for some time. It can occur at any age and can be difficult to diagnose, as there is no single test for it.
The vision of the British Polio Fellowship is “of a society where people living with the effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome have all the resources they need to lead full, active and integrated lives and of a world where Polio is completely eradicated.” It aims to help people living with the effects of Polio and PPS by:
• Actively campaigning in support of their rights and needs and those of their carers
• Providing information, welfare and support to enable people to live full independent and integrated lives
• Supporting a regional/branch/group structure that enables mutual support among members to be carried out in a caring and inclusive environment
• Raising the profile of The British Polio Fellowship to enhance its effectiveness
• Developing world-wide alliances with other Polio and Post Polio groups.