Pakistani Polio Community represented at the Australasian Post-Polio Conference
CLAN was proud to represent the Pakistani Polio Community and supporters from the National institute of Child Health (NICH), Karachi at the 2016 Australasian Post-Polio Conference. A video had been prepared in advance by members and supporters of the Pakistani Polio Community, and Dr Kate Armstrong shared a presentation with several key messages, relating to the importance of a person-centred, community development approach to supporting the Polio Community in Pakistan and other low income countries.
Whilst the Polio Community in Australia and other high-income countries is now somewhat more advanced in years - often with fantastic support organisations to help community members - the communities in low-income countries are still very young and in need of intense support. CLAN's hope is that we might increasingly connect the Pakistani Polio Community with the international Polio Community, and foster support and networking links.
The following report is shared by Melissa Morales, an Intern working with CLAN in 2016.
Last week I had the amazing opportunity to attend the 2016 Australasian Post-Polio Conference as a representative of CLAN. The conference focused on the life stages of post-polio syndrome and had a variety of speakers in attendance.
I didn’t have any prior knowledge on the span of effects polio has had on survivors or the range of difficulties they face within the healthcare system. I listened to the stories of polio survivors themselves, physiotherapists, psychologists, and advocacy group representatives. They all had a similar message: post-polio syndrome is not properly understood; and survivors are often misdiagnosed with other illnesses such as smoker’s lungs, depression, and sinus infections.
It is important to learn form the polio survivors of our community in order to properly help the younger polio cohort with issues they may face in the future. I think it is necessary to connect these professionals and survivors with the few remaining countries that still have newly identified cases of polio to build a support community and provide proper care to the community. It was wonderful to see the strong bond the international post-polio community has and hear all the stories and experiences shared at the conference. It will be great for this connection to extend to the last few countries (especially Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan) that still have a young polio cohort.