The NZ Post Polio Support Society held their conference in New Plymouth this weekend. To many of us polio is a non event in NZ with no new cases for nearly 50 years. But with about 600 members plus another 200 or so in the separate Auckland society, polio still has a large presence in NZ. Many of these society members are finding that as they age polio is still exerting its evil influence. While we all expect to have reduced physical capability as we age, the lingering effects of polio advances this process to an earlier age. Along with that they are finding the treatments for polio sufferers require different approaches to age related processes for the general population.
This conference was partially sponsored by Rotary, and it emerged that various Rotary clubs assist branches of the PPS Society in their work. It serves as a strong reminder to Rotary why we are aiming to finally eradicate polio. Not only do we save lives but we also improve lifestyles for many others throughout their life.
Thursday, 11 August 2011
The current measles outbreak in NZ shows why we need to stamp out polio. This outbreak of measles was imported from abroad due to international travel and has now spread from Auckland to Hawkes Bay, Waikato and Northland. While we are a developed country there are still groups of unimmunised people out there allowing the disease to spread. Measles may spread more easily than polio but while we still have any cases in the world we risk reintroducing it to NZ due to complacency. Check http://www.voxy.co.nz/health/second-wave-measles-hits-waikato/5/97658 for an update on the spread of measles.
Thursday, 28 July 2011
In talking about polio I often get asked about the attitude of Moslems to eradicating polio. Undoubtedly, in the recent past some militant Moslem clerics have denounced polio vaccinations as a western plot to undermine the Moslem religion. This has obviously had a serious affect on Moslem communities and delayed uptake of the immunisation program, with the result that they have been over represented in polio statistics. Have a look at the following link http://www.polioeradication.org/tabid/408/iid/126/Default.aspx and you will see that the international Moslem leadership embraces the concept and practices of polio eradication. This has undoubtedly been a key element in the success of the program over the last 2 years in the endemic countries of India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. In pushing for polio eradication we can rest assured that that the program aligns with Rotary goals of cutting across all barriers whether they be geographical, political, religious or gender based
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
The Rotary Club of Dannevirke enjoyed hearing about our trip to the National Immunisation Days in India last January. They were well aware how easily the disease could spread back to NZ given our low immunization rates and used the current measles outbreak in Auckland as an example
Sunday, 24 July 2011
The following link shows the potential for the spread of viral diseases in NZ. In this case it was measles picked up on a plane ride back to NZ and then spread through the community due to inadequate immunisation rates. Apparently there are an estimated 30,000 people under the age of 30 not immunised in Auckland alone. Shows how easily polio could spread and why we need to eradicate it completely.
As we work towards Zero there will ups and downs along the way. Some areas we will make progress, as in India at the moment. others we will need to look carefully to determine if it is progress or not, as in Pakistan where the bright note is the numbers of WPV3. Still others it may be regression, as in parts of Africa. But you can stay up to date on a weekly basis with the following website
My use of the term Polio Zero is not original but I chose it because it represents a clear cut aim without tangling us up in doubtful timeframes or giving false hope. I first came across it at the following link, really hope you will check it out