Polio westbay was set up in 2002 with the aim of supporting people in this area suffering from the late effects of polio.
Thirty or more years on from the initial illness large numbers of polio survivors began to feel the effects of the post polio condition involving increased muscle weakness, reduction in mobility, fatigue, joint and muscle pain and difficulties in breathing or swallowing. These symptoms known as Post Polio Syndrome have been caused by the prolonged overuse of muscles damaged by the initial illness. WBOPPPSS is associated with Post Polio Society of NZ . Their website www.postpolio.org.nz contains full information regarding Post Polio Syndrome and the organisation at a national level, a free phone contact is available at 0800 476 546.
Some of the aims of the Society are:
- Collecting and distributing information that will enable members to understand and moderate the changes occurring in their conditions.
- Inform medical practitioners of the reality of post polio syndrome and help update them on advances in research and treatment.
- Establish a centre of excellence in New Zealand for the study and treatment of post polio syndrome.
- Encouraging a level of immunisation that leads to eradication of poliomyelitis in New Zealand and worldwide.
Polio epidemics occurred frequently until the mid 1950’s when the development of the Salk and Sabin vaccines halted epidemics in many countries, but not all. Rotary Internationals ‘End Polio Now’ campaigns have largely reduced epidemic occurrences worldwide but the risk remains while un-vaccinated people are still present in society. Polio Westbay currently has approximately 35 members who receive regular newsletters. We organise morning coffee and luncheon meetings throughout the year and some members attend the annual National Conference. The group has reduced in size over the years as our members age and become less able to participate in our outings but we are still here and we welcome new members.