To: The Hon Tanya Plibersek, MP - Minister for Health
Federal Funding Urgently Needed For Polio Survivors
Please fund services for polio survivors, who form the largest single physical disability group in the country. Funding is urgently required to ensure that polio survivors are provided with the support and specialised services they need to be diagnosed, treated, and assisted to manage the complex and debilitating symptoms they are now experiencing.
Why is this important?
Before polio was eradicated in Australia after the Salk (1956) and Sabin (1966) vaccinations became available, Australian hospitals were inundated with polio cases and children in callipers were a common sight in schools. Those children grew up and today polio survivors represent the largest single physical disability group in the country.
Little do people know that those who contracted polio between the 1920's and 1960's are now experiencing the often debilitating Late Effects of Polio (LEOP) or Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) as they head into their senior years. Together with migrants, including younger immigrants from more recently eradicated or still polio endemic countries, these Australians will require specific LEOP/PPS services for at least the next 20-30 years. Currently there is no federal funding for post polio services in Australia. Polio Australia also requires funding to continue providing support, information and education to polio survivors, health professionals and the community.
Research has shown that it can take up to six years for a polio survivor to be diagnosed correctly due to a lack of knowledge within the health sector. In the meantime, polio survivors will suffer with fatigue, muscle and joint pain, respiratory problems, and a range of other symptoms with little or no support to understand or manage their condition.
Polio survivors have been all but invisible in the community, as they have just got on with their lives. However, as they are increasingly in need of polio-specific support and services, they are shouting out that "We're Still Here!". It’s now time for all Australians to step up and make a difference by ending this silent suffering. SIGN THE PETITION (right) and spread the word that "We're Still Here!"
For more information on the LEOP/PPS please visit: http://www.polioaustralia.org.au/?page_id=35
If you are a polio survivor, please support this campaign by adding your name to the Australian Polio Register
How it will be delivered
October is Polio Awareness Month and on the 31st of October, the Polio Australia Team will head to Parliament House, Canberra, accompanied by polio survivors, their friends and families to personally deliver this petition to their local Members because "We're Still Here!".