Thursday, February 10, 2011

Polio Place

More than 50 years after the development of the Salk vaccine for polio, the effort to eradicate the disease worldwide eludes achievement. Even when it happens, the story will not be over. Millions of people around the world have survived polio, with a wide range of impairment. In North America, approximately 700,000 polio survivors continue to deal with impairments that for many have become more severe as a result of post-polio syndrome.

So the polio story continues. And now there’s a new website –  Polio Place -- that provides a ton of information, resources, tips and stories of, by and for polio survivors, their friends, families and medical professionals. You can, for example, find references to medical articles focussing on polio's late effects and aging with a disability. In the Living With Polio section, topics cover health and wellness, mobility, retirement, relationships, self-help, travel, working, home adaptations, and energy conservation. The resource section includes books, multimedia and web materials. Under the history section, check out the artifacts and memorabilia from people who had polio; and you can submit your own, too. That's the thing about Polio Place -- it's a place where you can seek information, and also a place where you can contribute, too.

Polio Place is a first-rate production of Post-Polio Health International. (Full disclosure: I am on the board of PHI.)

For a long time to come, there will be a very large, if not huge, population of people cross the globe dealing with the short- and long-term effects of polio and post-polio syndrome. In the years ahead, this reality has significant implications for health care systems everywhere.

The more that polio survivors know how to cope and thrive, and know the kinds of issues they are likely to face in the future, the better able we and our communities will be to anticipate and react to the challenge. Polio Place, and PHI, are dedicated to sharing our knowledge and experience. Tell a friend.